Poronkäristys (Sautéed Reindeer)

You probably don’t have any reindeer sitting around at your house (unless you do – hello, Canadians and Scandinavians, thanks for visiting my site!). Luckily, this simple recipe can also be used with venison if you or a loved one had an eventful hunting trip this year, or even with bison or beef steaks if you didn’t have a good hunting trip.

This dish hails from Finland, but is enjoyed in Sweden, Norway and Russia as well. What I like about this recipe is that it makes no assumptions – the key to this delicious meal is slicing it thinly, seasoning it sparingly, and nudging it gently towards tenderness with a combination of light braising and some crisping at the end. The whole process takes about two hours from start to finish, but it’s totally worth it.

Poronkäristys - Sautéed Reindeer (Gluten-free, Primal, Paleo, Keto)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

2 to 3 lbs boneless reindeer, venison, bison, or beef steak (round, sirloin, or chuck)
2 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt, more to taste
½ tsp black pepper, more to taste
½ tsp ground allspice
1 cup water
sliced chives to garnish
lingonberry or cranberry preserves to serve
mashed potatoes to serve
sliced pickles to serve

1. Freeze the meat for 20 minutes then slice as thin as possible; set aside.

2. Warm the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the meat, salt, pepper, allspice, and water; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat to low and gently simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

3. Remove the lid and increase heat to medium-high. Saute, stirring often, until the water has evaporated and the meat turns dark brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Serve atop mashed potatoes, garnished with sliced chives and serve with mashed potatoes, lingonberry preserves, and sliced pickles.

5 thoughts on “Poronkäristys (Sautéed Reindeer)

  1. I made this last week, and wow! In my area of Northern Ontario, Canada, we have easy access to Elk, so I used that. I also made a cream based gravy to go along with this, and unfortunately did not have lingonberries this time, since I am 5 hours away from the nearest Ikea, and my local grocer does not carry any. This dish was a real hit with my teens and husband, and I will definitely be making this again, and I am actively looking for some lingonberries to serve for next time. We did have it with the mashed potatoes and pickles, and the one thing we all agreed on is, next time… no pickles. Maybe fresh, thinly sliced cucumbers with dill????? Thanks so much for this recipe, we really loved it!💕


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