Kjötsúpa (Icelandic Lamb Soup)

Kjötsúpa- Icelandic lamb soup
Louis-Laurent Grandadam / Getty Images
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Total: 95 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
728 Calories
37g Fat
51g Carbs
48g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 728
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 15g 74%
Cholesterol 159mg 53%
Sodium 207mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Protein 48g
Calcium 151mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Rutabagas and carrots add a bright flavor and color to this traditional Icelandic lamb soup recipe.


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 3 pounds lamb, on the bone (thick chops or shoulder, whatever is cheapest)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown rice (traditionalists use rolled oats as an alternative)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 rutabaga, uniformly diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets (optional)
  • 4 potatoes, scrubbed well and diced into uniform 1/2 inch pieces

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large pot or dutch oven, briefly sauté the garlic in the olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat (do not brown). Add the lamb pieces and brown on all sides. Add the sliced onion to the pot and sauté very lightly (about 1 minute), then pour in the brown rice and water. Raise heat to high, bringing the soup to a low boil; allow to boil for 5 minutes, skimming away the froth as it rises.

  3. Reduce heat to medium, stir in dried thyme and oregano, cover pot, and cook for 40 minutes.

  4. Add cabbage, carrots, rutabaga, cauliflower (if using), and diced potatoes. Cook, covered, for an additional 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork-tender.

  5. Remove meat and bones from pot, chop meat coarsely, then return. Warm for an additional 5 minutes.

  6. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • Some Icelanders will remove the lamb and potatoes from the pot and serve these on a plate, separately from the soup. If presenting the meal this way, chop the potatoes into larger, 1-inch chunks.