Happy Hangikjöt - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Happy Hangikjöt

Happy Hangikjöt

Published December 20, 2012

No Icelandic Christmas is complete without hangikjöt, or smoked lamb. It is traditionally served on Christmas Day with potatoes, green peas, red cabbage and a Béchamel sauce (also called “white sauce”). While the meat is readily available at the grocery store, some Icelanders still slaughter and smoke their own.
Þórhildur Þorsteinsdóttir’s family has been doing it for more than 50 years at their smokehouse in Sauðárkrókur in the north of Iceland. She says they smoke the lamb’s legs, upper body, and sometimes its spine. They salt the meat in a barrel for 10 to 12 days, and then take it out and dry it for 12 hours before hanging it in the smokehouse. Her family uses Icelandic birch and dried sheep’s dung to smoke the meat, and the smoking process takes around 14 days. After smoking, the lamb is boiled and then served cold.
For those interested in buying straight from the farmer, check beintfrabyli.is/byli (note: the site is in Icelandic!). Otherwise, head to a store like Frú Lauga (Laugalæk 6, 105 Reykjavík), which sells a variety of types of hangikjöt, including some that you can eat raw.
The White Sauce
If you’ve got your hangikjöt and all your sides in order, try your hand at making the traditional white sauce that is served over the meat. This recipe is courtesy of Hraunsnef Country Hotel in Borgarbyggð:
Ingredients:
75 gr butter
1 dl white wheat
7 dl l milk
1  dl cream
2-3 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
A dash white pepper
A dash nutmeg
Method: Melt the butter in a pan on low temperature. Add the wheat and whisk while mixing in the milk. When the sauce has thickened, mix in the cream, sugar, salt, white pepper and nutmeg.  If the sauce is too thick, add milk to thin.

Next:
Previous:


Go travel with Grapevine tried and recommended tours by Grapevine. Fund Grapevine journalism by booking with us.


Culture
Food: The Grapevine Guide To Reykjavík Dining
Food & Fun 2019: A Fine-Dining Masterclass That Took Over Reykjavík

Food & Fun 2019: A Fine-Dining Masterclass That Took Over Reykjavík

by

Culture
Food: The Grapevine Guide To Reykjavík Dining
Food & Fun Festival Turns 18, Imports Acclaimed International Chefs

Food & Fun Festival Turns 18, Imports Acclaimed International Chefs

by

Culture
Food: The Grapevine Guide To Reykjavík Dining
Eatin’ On The Dock Of The Bay At Bjargarsteinn In Grundarfjörður

Eatin’ On The Dock Of The Bay At Bjargarsteinn In Grundarfjörður

by

Culture
Food: The Grapevine Guide To Reykjavík Dining
Iceland’s Only Michelin Star Restaurant Loses Michelin Star Two Years Later

Iceland’s Only Michelin Star Restaurant Loses Michelin Star Two Years Later

by

Culture
Food: The Grapevine Guide To Reykjavík Dining
Popular Reykjavík Restaurant Receives Michelin Guide “Bib Gourmand” Award

Popular Reykjavík Restaurant Receives Michelin Guide “Bib Gourmand” Award

by

Culture
Food: The Grapevine Guide To Reykjavík Dining
In The Upside Down: Systir Are Doing It For Themselves

In The Upside Down: Systir Are Doing It For Themselves

by

Show Me More!