Icelandic Stew

Andrew and I have been on a No Reservations binge. We don’t have cable, but we do have Netflix. There are something like nine seasons available to watch, and we’ve caught the travel bug something fierce. It’s that countdown to Italy to blame. We’ve been watching Bourdain go all over the world to try out new food. It would be such a rad job. Jealous is an understatement.

One of the places we want to go is Iceland. Something about it just seems stunning and unlike most places we’ve been. There just so happened to be an episode on it. We watched. At some gym where all the bodybuilders workout, they were cooking up some Icelandic Stew. It was simple, hearty, and looked oh-so-good. I mean, c’mon, vegetables, lamb, and broth? Sold. Since Google is my friend, I found more than one recipe. It’s my kind of recipe, too. “Here’s your general staples. Add these if you like them. Cook as much as you want.” That’s the gist. I can get behind that. It didn’t hurt that I wanted to try out my new Lodge dutch oven.

Stews like this are totally meant to sit and cook a long time. It needs to sit and stew awhile [haha]. And frankly, it’s even better the next day. I don’t know why that is exactly, but who am I to mess with success. The first night of Icelandic Stew 2012 was much more soupy. It wasn’t bad to say the least. It was still hearty and awesome. You focus on the huge chunks of fresh veggies and the chunks of pork. Yeah, I had pork. I couldn’t find lamb to save my life. Pork was totally okay. We saved the leftovers for lunch the next day. The leftovers were far and away the star of the show. It took an awesome stew and raised it to new heights. It wasn’t brothy anymore, and everything had soaked it up. It was much more rich and creamy. I can see why they thrive on this kind of food in such cold climates. It was perfect on a cold, rainy, disgustingly dreary day.

I really don’t know what about it makes it so Icelandic, but I like it whatever it is.


  • 1lb pork stew meat
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 small rutabaga, chopped
  • 2-3 small red potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the meat.
  3. Lower the temperature to medium and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and reduce temperature to low.
  5. After 10 minutes, add all of your veggies. I had way more veggies that could fit in my pot. That’s a damn shame.
  6. Add the sprig of rosemary.
  7. Put a lid on the pot and simmer everything together for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Taste test and see what salt or pepper is needed.
  9. I simmered it for at least another hour before serving the first time. Then let it cool and refrigerate overnight serving the rest for lunch the next day.
  10. Favorite addition? A ton of hot sauce. It had to happen.

7 thoughts on “Icelandic Stew”

  • I love “put some stuff in and cook” recipes, too. Since I never have quite the right ingredients on hand, it’s what I do anyway.

    And P.S.–You’re really not missing anything by being behind a season in JS. The show has definitely passed its oh-so-trashy peak. Oh, well. On to this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race…wow, I have bad (or fabulous?) taste in TV.

  • I just started watching No Reservations a few weeks ago. He hasn’t been anywhere as interesting as Iceland yet! Your stew looks hearty and super comforting! I love when things are better the next day. You get to enjoy them twice.

  • Hi there! I stumbled upon your site through reddit of all places and was pleasantly surprise to see an old home favorite featured.

    If you don’t mind a comment then I’ll say that most kjötsúpu (lamb stew) recipes don’t feature cauliflower or cabbage, but, that being said I can’t imagine it detracting from the deliciousness of the recipe. Also, most Icelandic homes use dried, packaged soup-herbs ( in the stew. I don’t really have a reason for it other than habit as I can imagine that a varied vegetable diet was hard to come by before the 50’s so dried variations was used as a supplement.

    That being said, I like the blog!

    • Thanks for the awesome tips and tricks! It was such a hearty, awesome stew. I can see why it would be a home favorite! I can totally see how getting a varied vegetable diet before the 50s would have been tough. Those soup herbs would have been a life saver!

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