Lihamojakka, Beef Stew - a Finnish-American Recipe for St. Urho'

Total Time
3hrs 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 3 hrs

Lihamojakka, Finnish Stew with Beef, is a favorite meal at Finnish-American St. Urho Day celebrations. St. Urho - Patron Saint of Grasshoppers - Believe it or not...... there really is a Saint for grasshopper management, and his name is Saint Urho (pronounced ärrrr-hoe, stressing the rolling r). He is currently recognized as the Official Patron Saint of Finnish vineyard workers. As legend has it, he was responsible for saving the Finnish vineyards from a swarming outbreak of locusts. His method of control - a pitchfork and some strong words. "Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, meine täättä hiiteen" or roughly translated to English "Grasshopper, grasshopper, get the hell out of here," was enough to eradicate the hoards of locusts from the vineyard. These Finnish grape farmers were pretty protective of their crop, considering the short growing season. As the legend goes, these farmers injected vodka into the individual grapes to ensure a high alcohol content. And because of this heroic act of pest management, Urho was erected into sainthood by the local vintners. March 16th is St. Urho day, and properly celebrated by dressing in royal purple and nile green. NOTE: While this is a stove-top recipe, I don't see why it couldn't be done in the crockpot. Posted for ZWT 6 - Scandanavia.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Place meat and 6 cups water in large soup pot and bring to a fast simmer over medium-high heat. Maintain the simmer for about twenty minutes, skimming off all of the grey scum that rises to the surface (this will ensure that the broth of the completed stew is clear, a characteristic of good lihamojakka).
  2. When the scum has stopped forming, reduce heat to low. Stir in chopped onion and garlic, bay leaves, whole allspice, and peppercorns. Cover pot and allow to cook for 2 hours (Hint: You can tie the bay leaves, allspice, and peppercorns together in a cheesecloth packet for easy removal if you don't wish to serve them as part of the completed stew).
  3. After two hours, stir in the potatoes, carrots, celery, rutabaga, and salt.
  4. Replace lid and simmer on medium-low until vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes).
  5. Whisk together the flour and water and stir into the stew. Simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the broth has thickened.
  6. Serve with rye or artisan bread.
  7. And NO Grasshoppers please!