I am Scandinavian – Norwegian and Swedish to be exact, and as a youngster spent hours enthralled as family storytellers shared tales of relatives in Norway. But, unfortunately, never thought to reach out and learn who they were. In my defense, this felt high-near-impossible and may have been seen as intrusive.
Time passed and our grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts began to die. My uncle’s family graciously gave me boxes of pictures and historical facts on our family. Treasures galore! – which greatly supplemented my self-publishing a book about an uncle using pictures from this unexpected gift.
One day, my YOOPER cousin contacted me sharing with great excitement that she found some of our great aunt's family in Norway and the west coast of the USA through a popular DNA test.
A new focus began in learning about these relatives, what memories they could share of family and their lives in Norway. Discoveries surfaced - such as a great uncle who was on a whale boat in Norway, among many other precious findings.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and ZOOM! Through ZOOM we saw the faces and heard the voices of lost relatives ... and they, ours. A new adventure of discovery as we actually got to talk with and connect with our kin.
I'm naturally curious and through early morning "talking" (Facebook messaging) with my cousin, Geirr, he shared a popular Norwegian stew - Fårikål (Norwegian lamb and cabbage stew), which he says is eaten typically in the fall. I made the stew and it was 1) easy 2) delicious 3) a new autumn meal tradition.
Fårikål (Norwegian Lamb & Cabbage Stew) from the website North Wild Kitchen
Ingredients (I added English measurements):
- 2 kg / 4 ½ lbs lamb meat, cut into large pieces (neck, shoulder, shank)
- 60g (½ cup) flour (omit for a gluten-free option)
- 4 dl (1 ¾ cup) water
- 2 kg / 4 ½ lbs white cabbage, cut into large wedges.
- 5 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 3 teaspoons salt
In a large bowl, mix together the lamb meat and flour. The flour will help thicken the stew just a bit as it cooks.
Pour the water into a large casserole pot. Place a layer of the floured lamb on the bottom, followed by a layer of cabbage. Add some peppercorns and salt. Repeat this process until you have used all the ingredients, finishing with a final layer of cabbage on top. The volume should be about 1 part meat to 4 parts cabbage.
Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and slowly cook until the meat is tender and pulls apart from the bone easily, around 2 hours. The cabbage contains a lot of water that will be emitted during the cooking time, so don’t feel compelled to add more water than the stated amount.
Serve warm with freshly boiled potatoes and a knob of butter.