Reindeer classically and according to trends

Reindeer classically and according to trends

For restaurants focused on Scandinavian and Nordic cuisine, reindeer meat is very familiar, but otherwise, it might be somewhat exotic or profiled as a luxury product even for many professionals.

Reindeer meat has a very refined taste, with the pure flavor of wild game. The best seasoning for it from the spice rack is simply salt. The prime cuts of reindeer are often eaten medium, with an internal temperature of about 50-53 degrees Celsius. Reindeer fillets and roasts are best prepared traditionally in the old-fashioned way. First, the surfaces are browned by searing, then the meat is cooked in the oven until the desired doneness is achieved, and finally, the meat is allowed to rest for a while.

Versatile reindeer provides the right ingredients even for Sous Vide cooking, such as the round and knuckle, which showcase the best of reindeer flavor but require a slightly longer cooking time. The shoulder, shank, and brisket are also excellent ingredients for this cooking method familiar to the restaurant industry.

Including new trends in reindeer meat preparation

Today’s cooking trend is to find new ways to prepare lesser-known and less-used cuts of meat. Excellent cuts from reindeer include the tongue, shank, and flank.

For example, Lapin Liha’s reindeer ribs are a pre-cooked product, making them very easy to prepare, such as on the grill. Make a sauce from soy, sugar, light vinegar, chili, ginger, and garlic, which can be used to baste the meat while grilling or as a dipping sauce. Alternatively, you can use BBQ sauce for basting. Suitable side dishes with reindeer ribs include pickled red cabbage, coriander-seasoned coleslaw, or grilled romaine lettuce.

Asian-style street food has been a major trend in recent years, and reindeer meat fits excellently into this category. The flavor profile often includes more spiciness and uses ingredients like soy, ginger, garlic, and chili. For instance, reindeer stew can be easily transformed into tasty Asian-style bowls.

Nordic components to accompany reindeer on the plate

To highlight the wild flavor of reindeer meat, you can take inspiration and components from the main ingredient’s natural habitat. Suitable flavors for reindeer include lichen, beard moss, spruce tips, pine needles, birch leaves, juniper berries, juniper branches, mushrooms, and berries. The delicate, refined taste of reindeer meat takes center stage, and it can be complemented with other components, such as pickled, marinated, or infused in broth as seasoning.

Additionally, thyme, traditionally used with reindeer meat, is an excellent choice for seasoning the meat well. For instance, try basting the meat during cooking with thyme-garlic butter.

Enjoy delicious moments with reindeer meat!

Tero Mäntykangas

Tero Mäntykangas, who works as the Head Chef of the Lapland Hotels chain’s restaurants, is a true expert in the flavors of Lapland. In his work, he combines ingredients from Lapland, such as reindeer, with flavors found in its natural habitat.