The Baltic island of Gotland is perhaps best known for Almedalen Week, an annual event which sees the south-eastern Swedish island play host to one of the biggest political gatherings on the planet.
Of course, that's just one week every year. The island is also home to over 50,000 people and, most importantly, a large number of rather tasty sheep.
No wonder then that one of the island's most iconic dishes is this wonderfully creamy lamb stew with dill, known as dillkött in Swedish (literally dill meat).
- Dill is key to this dish so use the freshest dill possible. It is worth growing your own dill for this dish alone!
- In the spring you can add delicate vegetables such as spring cabbage or asparagus, but it’s better to eat the vegetables as a side dish and not add them to the stew. New potatoes also go well, of course.
- In the winter, you can add a root vegetable such as salsify, Hamburg parsley or parsnip.
- Often only the meat is returned to the pan in stage 4 (as shown above), especially if some nice spring vegetables are being served as an accompaniment. Personally I think it tastes better served with all the vegetables and it saves messing around fishing out all the meat!
600 g (1¼ lb) lamb, neck fillet or boned leg, cut into2 cm (1″) cubes
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 leek or celery stick, sliced
1 bay lead
1 sprig of fresh thyme
10 white peppercorns
1 tsp salt (Swedes would normally use 1 tbsp)
50 g (2 oz) fresh dill
120 ml (½ cup) water
5 white peppercorns
60 g (¼ cup) sugar
3 tbsp white vinegar
120 ml (½ cup) whipping cream
1-3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch), mixed with a little water
1. Put the meat in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and then bring to the boil. Immediately turn off the heat and pour off the water. Rinse the meat under running cold water. Wipe out the pan.
2. Place the meat back in the pan and add the onion, carrot, leek or celery, bay leaf, thyme, white peppercorns and salt. Pour in just enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring to simmering point and then simmer for 45-60 minutes until tender, skimming off any surface scum at regular intervals.
3. Make the dill reduction by removing the dill fronds from the main stalks. Finely chop the fronds and set aside. Put the stalks, water, peppercorns, sugar and vinegar in a pan. Bring to the boil then boil for 5 minutes then set aside and leave to cool.
4. When the meat is cooked, strain the meat and vegetables, returning about 450 ml (2 cups) of the broth to the pan. Add the cream and bring the mixture to the boil. Return the meat and vegetables to the mixture.
5. Add the dill reduction a tablespoon at a time until you get the right taste. (I normally about ¾ of the dill reduction.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Thicken the sauce by adding a tablespoon of the cornflour (cornstarch) mixture at a time until you get a nice consistency. (I normally add about two thirds of it.)
7. Just before serving, add the reserved chopped dill. (If you add it too soon it tends to discolour.)
This recipe was originally published on food writer John Duxbury's Swedish Food website.