Back to our roots

Cozy up to fall with a bowl of Norwegian lamb stew with root vegetables

Root vegetables in a lamb stew

Photo: Sara Johannessen / MatPrat
Lamb shanks and a variety of root vegetables come together in a cozy stew for fall.

CHRSITY OLSEN FIELD
Taste of Norway Editor

Root vegetables are a pantry staple for good reason: They are affordable, store well for months, and they are full of nutrients and are endlessly adaptable.

Nothing can beat the romance of a sun-warmed tomato plucked from the vine in the summer, but it’s root vegetables that keep my family fed throughout the year, and for that, they have my unending devotion.

To welcome the changing seasons, I wanted a cozy dinner full of root vegetables, and this fit the bill: Lammegryte med rotgrønnsaker, lamb stew with root vegetables.

I wanted to know more about Norway’s root vegetables, so I found a list of common root vegetables in Norway:

• Gulrot (carrot)

• Kålrot or kålrabi (rutabaga, also known as Swede)

• Nepe (turnip)

• Løk (onion)

• Potet (potato)

• Pastinakk (parsnip)

• Reddik (radish)

• Rødbeter (red beets)

• Jordskokk (sunchoke, also known as Jerusalem artichoke, though it is not actually from Jerusalem nor part of the artichoke family)

• Persillerot (parsley root)

• Pepperrot (horseradish)

• Sellerirot (celery root)

Some root vegetables are more popular than others, and many of these can be grown throughout the country. Interestingly, I couldn’t find one that was native to Norway or the Nordic region (please correct me if I’m wrong!), but many of the vegetables were introduced to Norway in the 1600s.

You are likely familiar with many root vegetables on this list. Kålrabistappe—rutabaga cooked with potato and sometimes carrot, and mashed with some butter or cream—is a traditional Norwegian side dish served with pinnekjøtt (smoked and dried lamb ribs) or other smoked meat dishes.

For the lamb in this lammegryte, my butcher recommended shanks, because I was braising the meat (that is cooking it low and slow with liquid), and they happened to be on sale. This was the first time that I had cooked with lamb shanks, and I was delighted with the succulent results (and low price). If you’re looking for a boneless cut, try lamb shoulder cut into 2-inch cubes.

I chose a few of my favorite root vegetables to complement in the lamb. Yellow and red onions bring flavor and a silky texture, and carrots bring color and earthy sweetness. Rutabaga is one of my personal favorites to add to soups and stews in the colder months of the year. It’s a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip, and is sometimes called “Nordens appelsin” (The North’s orange), because of its high concentration of vitamin C. I adore it for its orange hue and smooth yet firm texture. I also added celery root, since it’s another of my favorite root vegetables. Don’t let the gnarled, hairy root intimidate you from giving it a try—it peels pretty easily with a paring knife and adds a sweet nuttiness to round out the stew.

The stew is gently cooked in the oven, though it could be easily adapted to a crockpot. (If you make it that way, let me know!)

The resulting stew is rich and deeply flavorful, with a brightness from the white wine and thyme. You could double the recipe to eat it for leftovers all week long.


Lammegryte med rotgrønnsaker (Lamb stew with root vegetables)

Adapted from MatPrat

Ingredients

2 bone-in lamb shanks (2-3 pounds total)

1 large yellow onion, sliced

1 large red onion, sliced

2 carrots, chopped into 2-inch lengths

2 rutabagas, chopped into 2-inch cubes

1 small celery root, peeled and chopped into 2-inch cubes

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. fresh thyme

1 cup water

1 ½ cups dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Italian parsley to garnish, chopped

Directions

One hour before you start cooking, remove the meat from the fridge and season generously with salt, and let it come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot that can go into the oven, melt the butter and sear the lamb shanks so it gets golden brown on all sides. Remove meat and set aside on a plate.

Add the onions and sauté until the onions are soft and starting to turn golden brown, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the pot. Add carrots, rutabagas and celery root, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 3-4 mins. Add the lamb and onions back to the pot along with the thyme, water, and white wine. Cover the pot with a lid, and move to the oven. Cook for 1–1.5 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender and slips easily from the bone.

Remove meat and vegetables to a serving platter. If the liquid looks too thin for your liking, bring the remaining liquid to a boil for a few minutes until it thickens. Pour this over the meat and vegetables, and garnish with a handful of chopped parsley.

Serve with potatoes or good bread to mop up the juices. Enjoy!


What are your favorite root vegetable dishes from Norway? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at food@na-weekly.com.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 9, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Christy Olsen Field

Christy Olsen Field

Christy Olsen Field became the Taste of Norway Editor in April 2019. She worked on the editorial staff of the Norwegian American Weekly from 2008 to 2012. An enthusiastic home cook and baker, she lives north of Seattle with her husband and two young sons. She is also a grantwriter for small nonprofits in the Seattle area.

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