FINLAND: Karelian hot pot

As I’m reading up on Finnish cuisine, I’m noticing a lot of the dishes have identical or very similar dishes to other parts of Scandinavia. I went looking for something that what purely Finnish, so I’m going to try Karelian hot pot – it’s been unofficially voted as Finland’s national dish. It’s hearty peasant fare – since it’s mainly meat it was traditionally prepared only for special occasions.

This is a very simple meat stew – beef and pork, browned and then stewed with onions, carrots, bay leaves, and black pepper. The magic that it’s meant to be stewed for a very long time – some recipes say overnight in a low oven, or with a slow cooker, but bare minimum a few hours. I’m using this recipe from the Helsinki Times that has it going in the oven for three hours. This is going to make my place small fantastic.

I knew this is going to be good when the meat was falling apart just trying to spoon it into a bowl. It’s not fancy and the flavours are subtle but oh wow, this is the most tender meat I’ve had in as long as I can remember. Both the pork and the beef are melt in your mouth good. This is basically a way to make incredible meat – the onions, carrots, and broth are just bonuses.

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