In Iceland, the economy-minded meal-planner knows that it is cheaper to buy a whole or half lamb (divided into various cuts) than to buy individual pieces when needed. The meat is bought frozen and will keep for 6 months or more at -18°C. This pâté is a good way to use up those leftovers and scraps that you don’t know what to do with, and cuts that have freezer burn but have not gone bad.
5 kg meat on the bone (lamb or mutton)
1 1/2 kg mutton suet (optional)
120 g onion, quartered
150 g salt
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp allspice, ground
1 tsp cloves, ground
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Note: If you leave out the suet, use fatty meat. Some fat is necessary to hold the pâté together.
Wash the meat and cook in a little water with the suet (if using), onions and salt. When the bones can be easily pulled from the meat, it is done. My mother likes to pour off some of the cooking liquid at this point, and continue to gently fry the meat in its own fat for a while (at a low temperature – it must not burn). Put the cooking liquid aside and skim off the fat – do not throw away! Remove the bones and gristle from the meat and run the meat through a grinder or food processor with the onion pieces. Don’t grind it too finely – it must have some texture.
Knead the pâté (use a mixer with kneading hooks) and thin with the cooking liquid and fat. It should be fairly thick. Add the spices to taste. The colour of the pâté should be pale, almost white. My grandmother likes to whip the pâté, which makes it very light.
To store, pour into moulds (loaf pans are suitable). Allow to cool to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator to cool completely. Remove from the mould and cut up into suitable pieces. Wrap up in kitchen foil, pack into plastic bags and freeze.
Alternative storing methods include pasteurising in jars, pouring into cheesecloth bags and dipping in melted tallow or keeping it in brine (not used anymore, to my knowledge). For short term storage, pour into jars or bowls and pour melted fat on top.
Slice or spread on fresh bread. Particularly good on rye bread.