Reindeer meat from Lapland has Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) -status
The European Union has granted a protected designation of origin (PDO) to reindeer meat from Lapland (Lapin Poron liha), dried reindeer meat from Lapland (Lapin Poron kuivaliha) and cold-smoked reindeer meat from Lapland (Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha).
Three EU schemes known as PDO (protected designation of origin), PGI (protected geographical indication) and TSG (traditional speciality guaranteed) promote and protect names of quality agricultural products and foodstuffs.
Protected Designation of Origin – PDO covers agricultural products and foodstuffs which are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognised know-how.
The traditional know-how of the reindeer herders makes the exploitation of the half-domesticated animals possible. You can taste the harsh northern conditions in the meat. Reindeer mainly feed on natural sustenance. They can eat over 300 different types of plants or plant parts. This unique meat was granted the EU Protected Designation of Origin in 2009.
Reindeer meat is a valuable source of nutrients. According to studies, it contains a lot of iron, protein, selenium, and several vitamins, such as vitamin A and E as well as all vitamins in the B group. Reindeer meat is low fat, but still contains plenty of fatty acids that are good for your health. Selenium, combined with vitamin E, prevents cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Reindeer meat is usually also suitable for people who suffer from wheat allergy.
Reindeer growth is not enhanced artificially. Reindeer are slaughtered when their meat is at its best, during the autumn and early winter. During that time, fresh reindeer meat is available. Most of the meat is frozen and used throughout the year. Reindeer meat withstands freezing exceptionally well due to its thin muscle fibres and surface fat.
Most of the reindeer are slaughtered in slaughterhouses according to EU regulations, but if the meat is used by the herders themselves, or sold directly by them, the owner can slaughter the animals at the corral or reindeer farm.
SOME HELPFUL HINTS
- Reindeer meat does not require a lot of spices. Salt is usually enough.
- Leave the meat red on the inside when cooking. Reindeer meat is naturally tender.
- Remember to cook the meat only for a short time on a very hot pan or grill. Only place small amounts of meat at any one time on a pan with grease.
- If you are unused to the taste of reindeer meat, you should at first mix minced reindeer meat with a milder meat.
- Thaw frozen meat in a refrigerator.
TRADITIONAL SAUTÉED REINDEER – FOUR PORTIONS
- 2 lb (1 kg) Reindeer meat
- 3 tbsp Fat or butter
- 7 fl.oz. (2 dl) Water
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 1.5 lb (700 g) Peeled potatoes
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 or 3 Onions
- 7 fl.oz. (2 dl) Milk
- 1-2 tsp Salt
- Melt the fat in a pot. You will get the strongest taste for your sauté if you use reindeer outer fat for the dish.
- Add the meat to the pot in small amounts and sauté it until it has thawed and becomes brown.
- After all of the meat has been sautéed, add water and salt.
- Decrease the heat and let the sauté simmer under a lid for 10-30 minutes.
- Make the potato butter. Boil the potatoes.
- Melt the butter and stew the chopped onions in the butter. Add milk and boil up.
- Mash the cooked potatoes and add the milk and onions while mixing. Add salt.
Lingonberry sauce and pickled cucumbers make the best accompaniments for the dish. This traditional recipe can be modified by adding blue cheese, mushrooms, smetana, or cream into the pot.
SMOKED REINDEER AND BLUE CHEESE PIE – SIX PORTIONS
- 0.8 cups (2 dl) Wheat flour
- 3.5 oz. (100 g) Butter
- 2 tbsp Water
- (You can also use ready-made frozen pie dough, 1 pack/mould)
- 7 oz. (200 g) Ground smoked reindeer
- 1 Carrot
- 3.5 oz. (100 g) Wild mushrooms (e.g. boletes or blanched false morels)
- 2 oz. (50 g) Leek
- Black pepper
- 2 oz. (50 g) Blue cheese
- 0.5 cup (1 dl) Grated cheese
- 2 Eggs
- 7 fl.oz. (2 dl) Cream
- Knead the flour and butter into a granular mix against the bottom of a bowl with your fingers. Add cold water while mixing quickly.
- Press the dough to the bottom and sides of a buttered pie mould.
- Slice the carrot into small slices, cut the mushrooms into cubes and slice the leek.
- Stir the vegetables in a hot pan until they become soft. Mix the ground smoked reindeer into the vegetables.
- Season with thyme, basil, and pepper.
- Spread the mix on the bottom. Sprinkle pieces of blue cheese and grated cheese on top.
- Finally, mix the eggs with the cream. Pour the mix on the pie.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 400 °F (200 °C).