Olde Nordic dishes: Smalahove / Columns / The Foreigner

Olde Nordic dishes: Smalahove. Christmastime sees two annual traditions: performances of G.F. Händel’s ‘Messiah’ and eating Smalahove. Smalahove is a traditional Western Norway main course dish made from a sheep’s head. This dish’s name comes from a combination of two Norwegian words: smala (sheep), and hove (head).

smalahove, christmas, norway, food



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Olde Nordic dishes: Smalahove

Published on Tuesday, 29th December, 2015 at 14:27 under the columns category, by Sarah Bostock and Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 30th December 2015 at 14:01.

Christmastime sees two annual traditions: performances of G.F. Händel’s ‘Messiah’ and eating Smalahove.

Smalahove
This delicacy is not for the faint-heartedSmalahove
Photo: PerPlex/Wikimedia Commons


Smalahove is a traditional Western Norway main course dish made from a sheep’s head.

This dish’s name comes from a combination of two Norwegian words: smala (sheep), and hove (head).

Also eaten on Iceland, where it is known as svið, another of that nation’s traditional dishes is ram’s balls (værballer).

Initial preparation of smalahove is done by first splitting the head and removing the brain, before soaking the head in water for two days.

Once soaked, it is then preserved by salting the pieces, which are dried and then smoked to remove the fleece from the head by using a blowtorch.

The head, one half of which is used per serving, can then be boiled or steamed for around three hours to loosen up the meat before being served warm – the cheek and tongue are the most tender parts.

Its appearance may not be too appealing, as the tongue and eyes are still attached and served as part of the dish.

However, those who do not wish to partake of that part of the repast can eat other foodstuffs that are often served together with it.

These include as sausages, potatoes, and mashed swede (which also accompanies another traditional Christmas dish called pinnekjøtt (mutton ribs). Aqua vitae (akevitt) is also served as one drink – as with lutefisk.

Smalahove was originally eaten by the poor, who traditionally used as much as the animal as they could to avoid wasting any of the animal.

Today, though, it is considered a delicacy. It can also be found in restaurants, where tourists who dare to take on this unusual meal (for some) can try it too.




Published on Tuesday, 29th December, 2015 at 14:27 under the columns category, by Sarah Bostock and Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 30th December 2015 at 14:01.

This post has the following tags: smalahove, christmas, norway, food.





  
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