Yule in Iceland
Yule Food

The food that was considered fit for a feast in the last century would, for the most part, not be classed like that today. Fresh mutton was a delicacy, as was everything baked or fried of flour and sugar and anything made from grain. These items were rarities in those days and the choice of holiday foods reflects that. Usually a sheep was slaughtered on Þorláksmessa, and served as mutton soup on Yule eve, along with porridge, or Hangikjöt was served. The Hangikjöt was cooked on Þorláksmessa and the fragrance, which permeated the whole building, ushered in Yule.

Laufabraud - Leaf Bread
Laufabraud - Leaf Bread

The Laufabrauð, or Leaf Bread, is a work of art in itself, the designs often accompanying families through generations. The Laufabrauð started as a speciality food in Northern Iceland but is now served all over the country.
In the latter years Hamborgarhryggur, Smoked Pork Rack, and the poor man's dinner of the last century Rjúpa, Rock Ptarmigan, has been promoted to the feast table. Roast Leg of Lamb was the most common holiday food by the middle of this century.

    Kjötsúpa - Mutton Soup
    1 kg (2 lbs) mutton, cut in chunks
    1 1/2 l (3 pints) water
    1 onion, coarsely chopped
    1/2 head 500g (1 lbs) white cabbage, chopped
    4-5 carrots, sliced
    500 g (1 lbs) rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
    1/2 cup rice
    1 tablespoon salt
Cover the mutton with the water in a large casserole, add salt and bring to a boil. Skim off the fat and cook for 30 minutes, then add the vegetables and rice. Allow to simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mutton, serve separately with potatoes. You will need a large serving bowl for the soup.

    Jólagrautur - Yule Porridge
    1/4 l (1/2 pint) water
    1 1/2 l (3 pints) milk
    150 g (6 oz) rice
    1 teaspoon salt
    70 g (2 1/2 oz) raisins
    cinnamon and sugar
    1 almond
When the water comes to a boil, stir in the rice and cook for 10 minutes. Add the milk to the pot and cook over a low heat for 1 hour. Add the raisins in the last 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Add milk, sugar, and cinnamon to taste. The skinned almond is added and the porridge poured into a bowl. The housewife deals portions out and whoever finds the almond receives a small gift.

    Hangikjöt - Smoked Mutton
    1 kg (2 lbs) Hangikjöt
    1 l (2 pints) Water
Put the Hangikjöt and water in a pot. Slowly, over a period of a half hour, heat to boiling. Boil the Hangikjöt for 45 minutes to 1 hour for each kg (2 lbs). Allow to cool in the broth. Hangikjöt is usually served cold with mashes potatoes, or potatoes in Bechamel (white sauce), and accompanied by green peas.

    Rock Ptarmigan in Winter Plumage
    Rjúpa - Rock Ptarmigan in Winter Plumage
    Rjúpa - Rock Ptarmigan
    2-3 Rock Ptarmigan
    50 g (1 1/2 oz) bacon
    50 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
    2 dl (1 cup) boiled water
    30 g (1 oz) margarine
    3 tablespoons flour
    2 dl (1 cup) milk
    Caramel coloring, salt
    Redcurrant jelly
    3-4 tablespoons whipped heavy cream
Clean the Ptarmigan as for other fowl. Soak in half milk, half water for several hours. Pat dry and insert the bacon pieces into the breast of the Ptarmigan. Heat the margarine, then place the Ptarmigan into the pan and brown well. Remove from the saute pan and place them in a pot, breast side down. Add hot water and milk. Simmer for 60 to 90 minutes. Strian the stock, allowing enough to remain in the pot with the Ptarmigan to prevent drying. Melt the butter in the saute pan and add the flour. Cook the roux until golden, then add enough of the Ptarmigan stock to make a rich veloute. Add caramel coloring to taste, then add the seasoning and redcurrant jelly. Fold the whipped cream into the sauce just before serving. Ladle over the Ptarmigan.
Serve with boiled or caramel potatoes, cooked, halved apples, and redcurrant jelly.

    Laufabrauð - Leaf Bread
    1 kg (2 lbs) Flour
    1/4 teaspoon Baker's Ammonia
    1 teaspoon Salt
    6-7 dl (3 pints) milk
    Fat for deep frying
Heat the milk just to the boiling point. Sift the flour together with the hartshorn and the salt. The milk is stirred into the flour mixture and the whole is kneaded into a glistening, rather tough dough, then formed into a long roll. Cut the roll into pieces and roll out very thin. This is best done on a well-floured pastry cloth. The bread is formed with a round dish and then decorated. As each piece is completed, place between linen towels to prevent drying. Just before cooking, prick with a fork, being careful not to disturb the design. Deep fry on high heat, decorated side down, until golden-brown. Serve with butter or margarine.

    900 g (2 lbs) Flour
    240 g (8 oz) white sugar
    60 g (2 oz) margarine
    1 teaspoon Hartshorn [US: cream of tartar]
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    5 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 l (1 pint) milk
    1 egg
    Cardamom extract. [US: cover 1T. crushed cardamom seed with unflavored Vodka. Cover and soak overnight. Use filtered liquid as extract]
Combine the margarine and flour and add the other dry ingredients. Make a well in the flour and add the milk, egg, and extract. Knead well to make a smooth dough. Roll out to finger thickness. Cut into diamonds. Make a diagonal slit in the middle of each and pull one end through the slit. Deep fry untill golden-brown.

    Lambalæri - Leg of Lamb
    1 Leg of Lamb
    Salt, pepper
    1 cup heavy cream
    2-3 tablespoons flour
Put the leg of lamb on a grid in a roasting pan and pour 1 litre (2 pints) of water into the pan. You can also put the Leg of Lamb in a roasting bag without liquid. Place into oven. Heat oven to 150-175 deg. C (280-325 deg. F), and roast for one hour for each kilo (2 lbs) of weight. Baste occasionally with the stock form the roasting pan. For the last half hour of cooking switch on the grill, [US: broiler] and grill the Leg of Lamb on both sides. If you use a roasting bag, remove it from the bag for the last half hour and grill in the same way.

Strain the stock into a casserole and skim off the fat. Thicken the sauce with flour, or your favourite thickening, season and colour with gravy browning. Add the cream and remove from the heat. Serve with your choice of vegetables and caramel potatoes.

    - Smoked Rack of Pork
    Smoked Rack of Pork
    Place the rack of pork [Us: pork loin, bone-in] in enough wather to cover.
Braise for 30 to 45 minutes for each kg (2 lbs). You may season the liquid with whole pepper, mustard seed, or cloves. After braising, remove from liquid and roast in an oven preheated to 175 deg C (382 deg F). Glaze with brown sugar.
Serve with caramel potatoes, carrots, green peas, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and e.g. red wine sauce.

    Brúnaðar kartöflur - Caramel Potatoes
    Ca 500 g (1 lbs) Potatoes, medium size, cooked and peeled
    40 g ( 1 1/2 oz) margarine
    5 tablespoons sugar
Place the sugar in a heavy saute pan and heat until it begins to melt. Carefully stir in the margarine. When golden, remove from heat, and add potatoes, rolling them carefully around until they are coated with the caramel.

 The Yule Pages:  

The Advent Calendar

Yule Cards


Dreamcatcher GraphicsNext pageFront page