From Iceland — Soup Tuesday: Icelandic Christmas Soup, LEFTOVERS CURE HANGOVERS

Soup Tuesday: Icelandic Christmas Soup, LEFTOVERS CURE HANGOVERS

Published December 8, 2015

Soup Tuesday: Icelandic Christmas Soup, LEFTOVERS CURE HANGOVERS
York Underwood
Photo by
York Underwood

You’ve probably heard the Icelandic Christmas is a little different: thirteen Santa Clauses, malt and orange soda Christmas punch and a cat that eats children who don’t wear new clothes for the holidays. Another interesting staple of Icelandic Christmas is Hamborgarhryggur, Smoked Ham.

It was originally imported here from Denmark before people here had refrigerators, so smoking the ham was the only option for storing it. I made this one with a honey and orange glaze and used a bit of the stock to make an orange gravy/sauce. The trick to this soup, however, is to keep the delicious stock that comes from boiling the Smoked Ham in the first place.

A common side-dish at Christmas involves red cabbage–usually a nice sweet and vinegary dish–but I wanted to bring all the side dishes together to make a Christmas soup that could be made from leftovers or unused groceries. The parsnips I added because I like them, which I encourage you to do too. These soups are just a base for you to start from. In most cases, I read about different soups or dishes and then make my own recipe.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays…or nothing, if you prefer. No matter what religion you are—well, it’s made from pork, so that excludes a few major ones—this soup is great on a cold winter night.

Icelandic Christmas Soup with Beets and Red Cabbage

Preparation time: 120 minutes

Cooking time:  45 minutes


Leftover Hamborgarhryggur (Smoked Ham, with the bones)

500 mL   18% Cream

3     Heaping Tablespoons of Whole Grain Mustard

1     Large Beet

1     Large Parsnip

500 grams   Small Red Potatoes

3     Cloves of Garlic

1     Head of Red Cabbage

3L   Cold Water

Creme Fraiche and Herbs


1. Keep the stock you get from cooking your hamborgarhryggur in the first place (For a recipe, check this out). Cube whatever meat you have left over. You keep the bones in the stock as well (Just remember to take them out when it’s done cooking). Add the whole grain mustard and make sure the stock is at a slow boil.

Smoked Ham Christmas Soup

2. Dice up some small potatoes. I like to keep the skin on. It gives them a little more flavour and you don’t lose any of those nutrients contained in the skin. Add them to the pot.

Potatoes Christmas Soup

3. Slice up a large beet and place in the pot.

Beets Christmas Soup

4. Peel and slice up a large parsnip. It gives the soup a nice peppery flavour.


5. Roughly chop a whole head of red cabbage. Add it to the pot.

Red Cabbage

6. Peel and finely dice some cloves of garlic. Keep the pot at a slow boil for 45 minutes. Turn the heat down and add the cream. Be careful not to bring the soup back up to a boil. Season well with salt and pepper.

Christmas Soup in a pot

8. This soup should be smokey, salty and delicious. The beets give it an almost borscht like flavour, but the hamborgarhryggur is the star of the show. Enjoy this soup the day after Christmas.

Christmas Soup

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.

WTF is a Soup Tuesday?

As the sun yet again makes her life-draining descent towards winter solstice, it becomes 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.


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