Finnish Reindeer and Cheese Soup
Reindeer meat is an important part of Finnish food tradition, somewhat as beef would be in other areas of Europe. Traditionally, there are two types of cheese used in this soup.
One, "leipäjuusto", has been baked and has a very mild taste. With its slightly rubbery texture, it will get softer but not melt when added to this soup. This cheese is also often served as a dessert with clouberry jam and vanilla sauce in Finland. In the north of the country, this dessert is sometimes called "lapsi veden vahvistus", which translates into "strengthener after losing waters", as it was recommended to new mothers to regain strength after giving birth. Traditionally in Sweden this cheese will be diced and placed at the bottom of a coffee cup, and eaten once slightly melted by hot coffee, hence its name meaning "coffee cheese".
The other cheese in this soup recipe, called "sulatejuusto", is a sort of cream cheese with a very mild flavor. In the version presented below, parmegian cheese has been introduced by cheese lovers and brings a stronger flavor to this soup.
600 gr reindeer meat, in slivers
2 onions, chopped thinly
2 tablespoons butter or oil
2 bouillon cubes
20 juniper berries
6 large potatoes, cut into pieces
500 gr soft "cream cheese"
6 tablespoons parmegian cheese, grated very thin
300 gr "coffee cheese", diced
1 dl parsley, chopped
In a pot, brown meat in pan with oil or butter, remove. Cook the onions until soft, then put meat back, add boiling water, bouillon cubes and cook at low temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Add in the cream cheese, spices and potatoes. When potatoes are tender, add coffee cheese, parmegian cheese and parsley.