We’re in our last few days in Rovaniemi which means our last meals. Thankfully, last meals are (typically) represented by the best of the best foods. In our case on this trip that includes Reindeer stew (or sauteed reindeer, no official name for reindeer over mashed potatoes) as well as blueberry pie! I’ve posted MANY times on reindeer stew but this was the first time I caught all the action from the very beginning, well almost, the VERY beginning includes hunting down the reindeer and that doesn’t sound like something I would find all that appealing. There is a mixture of photos and video from the process of making reindeer stew, enjoy!
First, the reindeer pieces are cut from the large hunk of reindeer slab. Here, they keep the huge slab frozen and cut off pieces from the semi-frozen mound as they need it so it can continue to stay in the freezer. One huge slab can serve about 30 or so people. Here are photos of the slab, the knife used and a little video of cutting these raw pieces of reindeer.
After the reindeer is cut, or at the same time if two people are making the reindeer- the entire bowl is filled with reindeer first so you can imagine that cutting from a frozen piece might take a while. Bacon is cut into pieces and added to the pot to cook before adding the reindeer. In the grocery store, the bacon is called “American” bacon
Then, after the bacon has had time to cook and the flavor is brought out, the reindeer is added and they are mixed together with pepper and seasoning. Below are photos of adding the reindeer and the pot simmering. Why a wooden spoon rather than metal? No idea, but that is actually the norm I see with lots of cooking here. I would never call myself a chef or a cook so I’m not sure of what else one might use.
Once the reindeer and bacon and spices have had time to cook- a good 30 minutes or so (could be more, could be less, I went out for a quick run in the middle so actual timing I’m not sure of 100%), but anyways, it is now time for the secret ingredient- beer. NOTE- this is not a “standard” recipe and you will most likely find many households who don’t cook it this way, but this is an ingredient my boyfriend’s mother uses and not only does it seem to do the trick, might contribute to why I feel it is the best reindeer EVER. Anyone who cooks with wine or other alcohol knows that the actual alcohol cooks away and it is the flavor that is valued in the recipe. Regular old Lapin Kulta beer is the brand.
And that’s it, about an hour to cook and simmer with all the ingredients and you’re done! Below is the finished product- tastes as good (or better) as it looks- or if you think it doesn’t look good, oh boy does it look 100% better then. It’s really amazing and a must for ANYONE traveling to Finland (or any other place in the world where you can get reindeer! I will so miss this until the next time we make it back to Finland.