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Kjötsúpa, Icelandic Lamb Soup

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Elegant yet simple Icelandic Lamb Soup

Kjotsupa, Icelandic Lamb Soup

photo ©Kari Diehl, licensed to About.com
Rutabagas and carrots add a bright flavor and color to this traditional Icelandic lamb soup recipe.

Cook Time: 1áhour, 10áminutes

Total Time: 1áhour, 10áminutes


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 3 pounds lamb, on the bone (thick chops or shoulder, whatever is cheapest)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown rice (traditionalists use rolled oats as an alternative)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced into 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 rutabaga, uniformly diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets (optional)
  • 4 potatoes, scrubbed well and diced into uniform 1/2" pieces (see alternative note below)


In a large pot or dutch oven, briefly sauté the garlic in the olive oil for 1-2 minutes over medium heat (do not brown). Add the lamb pieces and brown on all sides. Add the sliced onion to the pot and sauté very lightly (about 1 minute), then pour in the brown rice and water. Raise heat to high, bringing the soup to a low boil; allow to boil for 5 minutes, skimming away the froth as it rises.

Reduce heat to medium, stir in dried thyme and oregano, cover pot, and cook for 40 minutes.

Add cabbage, carrots, rutabaga, cauliflower (if using), and diced potatoes. Cook, covered, for an additional 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork-tender.

Remove meat and bones from pot, chop meat coarsely, then return. Warm for an additional 5 minutes. (Alternatively, some Icelanders will remove the lamb and potatoes from the pot and serve these on a plate, separately from the soup. If presenting the meal this way, chop the potatoes into larger, 1" chunks).

Yield: 6-8 servings of kjötsúpa.

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