From Iceland — Soup Tuesday: Kjötsúpa, Icelandic Meat Soup

Soup Tuesday: Kjötsúpa, Icelandic Meat Soup

Published October 6, 2015

Soup Tuesday: Kjötsúpa, Icelandic Meat Soup
York Underwood
Photo by
York Underwood

As the sun yet again makes her draining descent towards winter solstice, it has become clear: fall has arrived. The darkness in store will likely bring a lot of you down, but don’t fret or give up—there are a number of methods for fighting off the winter blues: Reading, lýsi, sex, drugs, alcohol, and—of course—soup. Now, doing most of those things would be mostly inappropriate, if not illegal, at the Reykjavík Grapevine’s offices (if it were one of those “appropriate” offices)—except for maybe the lýsi and reading. And of course, the soup.

Lýsi is kinda disgusting and reading is for nerds, so to combat the coming full-scale attack of the SADs, we decided to started a new tradition to help us make it through the coming winter: SOUP TUESDAYS. Yes! Soup Tuesdays! Every Tuesday, we’ll be making a different soup in our shitty little office, document the process and then show you how to make one for yourself.

You can also send us your best recipes (on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email), with a photo, so we can share soup knowledge throughout the world. Together we can make it through the bad weather.

Solace and Solidarity in Soup.

Happy Soup Tuesday.

Kjötsúpa: Traditional Icelandic Meat Soup

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time:  90 minutes

This is traditional Icelandic Meat Soup, made with lamb and vegetables – a life saver when food was scarce and energy was needed to battle the elements.. The soup is conventionally made with potatoes, rutabagas and carrots. It can also contain leeks, onions, and dried herbs.

Here is our quick and simple twist on this classic – swapping the dry herbs for some fresh ones and adding fresh leek and cabbage in place of oatmeal or rice, the traditional thickening agents.


1     Large Yellow Onion

1     Green Cabbage

3     Large Potatoes

6     Large Carrots

2     Large Rutabagas

1     Large Leek

2     Lamb Shanks (You can use shoulder if you are making your own stock)

2     Handfuls of fresh herbs (We use rosemary and thyme, but you can use dry herbs to really rough it like it was done traditionally.)

1     Tablespoon of butter and enough lamb bouillon to handle three litres of water.



1. In a large pot, sear the bottom of the lamb shanks. Chop the large yellow onion, add butter to the pot, and toss in the chopped onion. Cook until the onion is soft and just starting to brown.

Kjötsúpa Step One

2. Dice the leek. Add 3 litres of water to the pot and toss in the leeks.

Kjötsúpa Step Two

3. Peel and chop the rutabagas and potatoes and toss them in the pot.

Kjötsúpa Step Three

4. Chop the carrots and add them to the pot.

Kjötsúpa Step Four

5. Finally chop the cabbage and add it to the pot.

Kjötsúpa Cabbage

6. Mix in the bouillon. Chop your fresh herbs and add them to the pot. Let simmer for about an hour.

Kjötsúpa Herbs

7. Use a large fork to shred the lamb off the bone into the soup. Serve with a garnish of fresh herbs and sour milk (lactic acid is a traditional flavouring in Iceland).


Remember to share this recipe with your friends and loved ones.

Also, send us your recipes. Let’s get through this winter together.

One Soup Tuesday at a time.



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