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Poronkäristys: Finnish sautéed Reindeer (well, Red Deer this time)

March 22, 2011

First, one point to get out of the way, I have made this recipe three times so far. One lot was with tinned Reindeer that had been chopped too finely, one was with Beef a few weeks ago and one with Red Deer neck. For the Beef, I had ran out of Lingonberry Preserve, so used Quince Jelly which also works fairly well but just isn’t the same at all. These admissions besides, this is a pretty faithful rendition of a simple but tasty meal I have eaten quite a few times. I think I got the recipe from my aunt Ulla or at least I paid attention to how she cooks this.

I also have to say it is also a very easy recipe, it’s pretty difficult to get wrong and the reward is more than worth the gain. If you can’t get Reindeer (or any other Deer) and are thinking it would be a waste to cook Steak this way, just try it and be proved wrong…

– Recipe –

Feeds two

500g Reindeer, Deer, Steak or other cuts of Beef (order of preference), cut it into short thin slices (partial freezing helps you cut)

1 Onion

10+ Whole Peppercorns

Water or Beer, to cover

New Potatoes, the waxiest variety you can find

Dill, a handful

Lingonberry Jam, I’ll get some next time I go to IKEA, although homemade is generally tangier so better, other sour jams/jellies can work as a substitute but will never be as good

  1. Sprinkle Salt on the Sliced Meat and then fry with the Onion and Peppercorns till nicely browned. Put in a lidded oven dish and then pour a bit of the cooking liquid into the original frying pan and rub it with a spatula to get all the meat juices. Pour the liquid over the Meat and then put in the oven at 200C for an hour.
  2. 25 minutes before the main is done, begin to boil the New Potatoes with Dill and Salt (just cover with Water), once the Water begins to boil, cook 15-20 minutes.
  3. Serve still hot with Lingonberry Sauce (Ikea sells it). You could use Cranberry, though it’s not as good, Rowanberry makes a much better substitute and Quince is reasonable.


  1. Great recipe! I had some dehydrated reindeer from a trip to Helsinki and adapted your recipe. My cat and I loved it. BTW, I notice you’re wearing a University of Exeter t-shirt — I lecture mathematics at Exeter!

    • Gosh, it’s a very small world! I did archaeology at Exeter graduating in 2011, and then a masters there too, you probably taught a few of my friends. It’s one of my favourite meals to make and eat, especially when I can get my hands on some real reindeer!

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