Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is called Sprengidagur – ‘Exploding Day’ – here in Iceland. After filling up on sweet buns yesterday, a more savoury aroma fills restaurants and homes today as the people of Iceland sit down to salted meat and split peas, saltkjöt og baunir.
If you’re not in Iceland today, but want your own taste of Exploding Day, here’s the basic recipe:
Salted lamb and split pea soup
250g yellow split peas (some suggest soaking peas overnight)
1 onion, chopped
100g diced bacon
several celery stalks, sliced finely
1 bay leaf
thyme and pepper to taste
1 kg salted lamb
1 or 2 swede (yellow turnips), chopped into large chunks
250g carrots, peeled & sliced
500g potatoes, peeled & chopped
Place peas & 1.5 litres of water in a soup pot, bring to boil & discard excess froth. Add onion, bacon, celery, bay leaf, thyme & pepper.
Simmer for an hour or so then add a couple of pieces of the salted lamb.
Place the remaining meat in a separate pot of water & bring to boil. Simmer for an hour.
About half an hour before serving, add remaining vegetables to the soup, adding extra water too if the soup is too thick. (Some prefer to keep the swede separate, serving it with the meat on a plate, and the soup in a separate bowl.)
Bon appetit! Or, as they say here, Verði þér að góðu!