Greenland is a very large island country found up north between North America and Europe. It is the world’s largest island and 12th largest country in the world which borders the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Despite its size it has the lowest population density of about 56,000 people. Greenland is actually part of the kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands also being apart of this kingdom. Opposite as the name implies Greenland is actually made up of 80% ice and is the home to the second largest ice sheet in the world.
Cuisine of Greenland is limited to its natural resources which include an array of game, the diet consisting of high amounts of protein. Over time with international trading the cuisine and culture has been influenced by Canada, Denmark, England, and America. Some of the more traditional foods of this nation include mattak (underlying layer of fat from a whale), lumpfish roe, musk ox, ptamigan, a medley of local seafood, and of course suaasat.
The national dish of Greenland is suaasat, which is a traditional soup that includes local game like seal, whale, seabirds, or reindeer. The seasoning is simple consisting of salt, pepper, and fresh herbs and thickened by either rice or barley. You can find the recipe here.
It was tricky finding a dish to represent Greenland since most traditional meals include local game such as seal and reindeer. Luckily the next closest thing to reindeer is venison (thank you Eric for the meat)! I also had barberries on hand (which isn’t traditional) so I opted to use them vs the dried cherries. I don’t think the flavor would have been dramatically different. Of course if you don’t have access to venison or any kind of game meat I think chicken or beef would be acceptable substitutes!
This dish was unlike any other that we had tried so far- soup with berries was a new one for us! The soup gained a sweet note from the berries and a highlight of tart/tanginess from the lemon zest. The venison and veg mixture was very hearty. I enjoyed the consistency the barley brought to the soup which one can compare to a wild rice soup. It wasn’t our favorite, but respectable- 6.5/10. I would be very curious about what whale or seal could bring to the flavor profile vs the venison…