Home Travel & Leisure Food Norwegian Pinnekjøtt for a Nordic Christmas

Norwegian Pinnekjøtt for a Nordic Christmas

Norwegian Pinnekjøtt for a Nordic Christmas
Photo: Robyn Lee

In Norway, Pinnekjøtt is a main course dinner dish of lamb or mutton. Pinnekjøtt is a festive dish typical to Western- and Northern Norway, and is rapidly gaining popularity in other regions as well. This dish is largely associated with the celebration of Christmas, served with puréed rutabaga and potatoes, beer and akevitt. The preparation of pinnekjøtt uses a traditional method for food preservation utilizing curing, drying and in some regions also smoking as means of inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms. Although lamb is today available fresh or frozen all year round, pinnekjøtt is still prepared both commercially and in private homes due to the flavour and maturing the preservation process gives to the meat.[4] In home preparation of pinnekjøtt, racks of lamb or mutton are cured in brine or coarse sea salt. Once sufficiently cured, and when the weather is cold enough, the racks are hung in a cool, dark, well ventilated place to dry.


1 1/2kg sheep ribs

2 turnips/swedes

2 carrots (optional)

20 Potatoes

1/4 ts ground nutmeg

4 liters of water


Cut ribs lengthwise between each rib. Place in cold water overnight.

Steam the meat on sticks of birch (without bark). You may also use a metal grating placed in the bottom of a saucepan any fish pot. The water should be level with the ground. Add the lid and allow the meat to steam for 2 – 2 1 / 2 hour until it separates from the bone. Add more water if necessary. Make sure it does not go dry.

The meat should be put under the grill for about 20 minutes before serving to make it crispy.

Serve turnip stew and potatoes with the meat.

Turnip stew

Boil turnips and any carrot slices.

Mash and season with salt, pepper, or a little ground nutmeg and butter or a little of the fat / juices from the meat.

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