Reindeer veal on the menu

Around half of all reindeer meat currently sold originates from calves. But it is sold collectively as reindeer meat. In the future reindeer veal can appear on restaurant menus.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Morten Heide
Morten Heide

Scientist
Phone: +47 908 49 530
morten.heide@nofima.no

Around half of all reindeer meat currently sold originates from calves. But it is sold collectively as reindeer meat. In the future reindeer veal can appear on restaurant menus.

A distinction is made between calves and adult reindeer during slaughter, but such a distinction is seldom when the meat is sold to consumers. Everything is marketed as reindeer meat. This is contrary to other forms of meat production, where we are used to the distinction between, for instance, lamb and mutton and veal and beef.

One reason can be that there is not a tradition of differentiating game in Norway.

Restaurants

With financial support from Reindriftens Utviklingsfond, Nofima Marked and Finnmark University College have studied what Norwegian chefs think about reindeer veal.

Chefs at 30 restaurants in Oslo, Stavanger, Tromsø and Alta were sent sirloin of reindeer originating from both calves and adult animals for blind testing.

According to the feedback received, the reindeer veal is lighter in colour, has a milder game flavour and is tenderer than meat from adult reindeer.

"Reindeer veal is an attractive product that can have a future on restaurant menus providing the suppliers manage to supply regular, large fillets of a high quality," says the chef at Emmas Drømmekjøkken in Tromsø, Yvonn Steffensen.

The future

"This study shows that it may be possible to introduce reindeer veal onto the Norwegian restaurant market, but it is unclear whether the restaurants are willing to pay more for veal than other reindeer meat," says Associate Professor Tove Aagnes Utsi from Finnmark University College.

Seventeen chefs responded that they would buy reindeer veal if it became available, but four believed the price would be too high. Some are willing to pay more for veal than other reindeer meat, but other restaurants believe sirloin of reindeer is already too expensive and have removed it from their menus.

"As fillet only constitutes a small part of the meat from reindeer calves and is also the most expensive product, it can be sensible to introduce more affordable products such as leg, topside and steak in addition to fillet," says Scientist Morten Heide from Nofima Marked.

See below for recipes by Yvonn Steffensen, Chef at Emmas Drømmekjøkken in Tromsø.

Roast fillet of reindeer veal, raspberry Hollandaise and olive-roasted potatoes

Brown the fillet rapidly in a pan, seasoning with salt and pepper, then roast at 200 °C for 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness). Remove from oven and allow to stand for a few minutes before slicing.

Raspberry Hollandaise
1 shallot
2 dl white wine
1/2 dl raspberry vinegar
Some preserved tarragon leaves
3 peppercorns
Finely chop the onion and fry in butter. Add the other ingredients and reduce (boil in) to half.
5 egg yolks
500 g clarified butter

Whisk the egg yolks in a steel tray over a water bath (not boiling) until light and fluffy. Carefully add the clarified butter while beating. Add a few tablespoons of the hot sauce, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. Ensure the sauce does not get too hot. Stir in fresh raspberries before serving.

Olive-roasted potatoes
1 kg potatoes peeled and halved
Cover with water and lightly boil so still hard.

Drain water, place potatoes in an ovenproof dish, half cover with olive oil and roast at 250 °C until golden. Stir occasionally so potatoes are not damaged. Drain oil when potatoes are ready.

Fillet of reindeer au gratin with forest berry butter, parsnip purée and mushroom and onion sauce

600g reindeer fillet
Forest berry butter:
300g butter (normal salt)
50g blueberries
50g lingonberries
Salt and pepper
4 slices white bread (crust removed)

Whip the butter in a mixer until it is light and airy then add the berries. If you don’t have fresh berries, you may use preserved berries or jam. Break the bread into small pieces and add to the mixture. Continue mixing until the butter has an even consistency. Place the butter mixture on baking paper and roll into a sausage shape then freeze.
Brown the reindeer fillet in a frying pan. Divide the butter mixture up into thin slices and place them on the fillet.
Roast in the oven at 225 °C for about six minutes until the fillet is medium cooked (depends on the fillet size)

Mushroom and onion sauce:
200g assorted mushrooms
100g finely chopped shallot
4 dl cream

Pan-fry the mushrooms and onions until they have a golden colour. Sprinkle over a little flour then mix in the cream until the sauce reaches the desired thickness. Let it simmer for a few minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Parsnip purée:
500g parsnip (can be replaced with celery)
Milk

Peel the parsnip, cut into pieces, cover with milk and boil until tender. Drain off the milk into a bowl. Place the parsnip in a blender and mix until it is puréed. Add in some of the milk that the parsnip was boiled in if the purée gets too thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Cooking the fillet of reindeer:
Briefly brown the fillet of reindeer in a frying pan, seasoning with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 225 °C for about six minutes depending on the fillet thickness. Remove the fillet of reindeer from the oven and let it stand for a few minutes before slicing.

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