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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lihakeitto--Finnish Beef Soup

For dinner tonight, I made lihakeitto, which literally translates as "meat soup."  Not a very appetizing name for such a delicious dish.  It was so cold and rainy today, and this was so warm and nourishing, the kids loved it.  This is a really typical Finnish food, delicious and filling.

First, I chopped up the leftover meat from last night's roast, I believe there was about a pound left (.4 kilos).  I chopped up about an equal amount of potatoes, in this case about 5 medium.  The carrots are from a bag of "baby carrots."  I tried to get all of the ingredients into about the same size pieces so that they would cook in about the same amount of time.  That is always a good idea with soup ingredients.

If I hadn't had leftover cooked meat, I would have chopped up pieces of a fresh roast and browned them in the stew pot before adding the other ingredients.

Next, I chopped up a rutabaga and added it to the pot with the other ingredients.  Note that I'm still trying to keep the pieces the same size as the potatoes and carrots.

I used three leeks in the soup.  You could use less if you want, or substitute with one onion.  If you use leeks like I did, make sure and wash them really, really well.  Leeks are always full of sand and grit, and the dirt is inside the green tops.  I like to slice the leeks up first before washing them and straining them at least twice.  If you slice them before washing, all the grit falls out.  It is really frustrating to try to wash them when they are whole.

I added 12 whole allspice to the soup.  This gives a really wonderful flavor.  Some recipes also use a bay leaf, but I didn't today.  I added about 8 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to the pot.

Here is what the soup looked like before it started cooking.  I brought the soup to a boil on high heat, then reduced it to low to simmer.

This is what it looked like after one hour of simmering on low heat (I had the lid tilted on the pot so it wouldn't overflow).

After two hours of simmering, here is the finished soup.  I added one Knorr beef bouillon cube to make the broth just a little richer.

It was so good!  We enjoyed it with crispbread and Kalle's caviar from Ikea.  Well, at least we grownups enjoyed the Kalle's caviar paste, it seems our kids have not learned to appreciate pastes made of salty fish eggs yet...funny how it reminds my husband of his childhood, yet our kids won't eat it.


  1. Delicious soup. Very nice for a cold winters day. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the nice comment! We really enjoyed this soup, and hope you will, too.