Traditional Icelandic Food - Slátur

Traditional Icelandic Food - Slátur Icelandic sheep spend the summers on free foot outback in the highland and in the fall farmers and keen assistants set


Traditional Icelandic Food - Slátur

Icelandic sheep spend the summers on free foot outback in the highland and in the fall farmers and keen assistants set out in the chilly September weather to gather their sheep in time for the round-up. That‘s where the sheep are rounded up and the farmers find their sheep and the lambs and pull them aside to take back to their farms.

Then you might say the fun is over. It‘s time to send the sheep and lambs to the slaughter house. Back in the days, Icelander’s didn’t have too much food to put on the table and had to make the most of every animal slaughtered. The meat was cured in salt or smoked so that it would last all winter and the intestines were taken for well, now it’s time to find out:

Few weeks after the round up’s it’s time to swing by the shop to pick up everything you need for making slátur.

Me and my family follow the tradition this time of year, when everything you need is available fresh, directly from the slaughterhouse and make Slátur, which is a collective word for blóđmör „blood sausage“ and lifrarpylsa „liver sausage“ – Icelandic style.

One package contains blood, liver, suet, stomachs, kidneys, hearts and sheep’s heads. Yes, sheep’s heads. They are not used for slátur but traditionally are sold along with it. You use them to make sviđ and sviđasulta, bt that is another story. You’ll also be able to buy artificial “bags” for the sausages.

You also need thread, salt, rye flour and oats.

The recipes are quite simple but the making of slátur could be considered to be quite messy.

For the traditional way of making slátur you use the sheep’s stomach as a sort of a bag for the sausage. You cut it and sew bags with an opening large enough for your hand to fit into.


Blóđmör or the blood sausage is super healthy, full of iron. You’ll need:

Sheep’s blood
Rye flour
Sheep’s suet

 How to do it:

Start by shopping the suet quite coarsely and set aside.

Pour the blood through a sieve into a large container (note this is going to be some volume), add a bit of water and about 2 table spoons of salt. Stir all the rye flour into the blood, small amount at a time until the mixture is thick enough so that your spoon stands and doesn’t fall to the sides.

Now it’s time to take the suet and add to the mixture, just before you start filling the bags. Take a handful of the mixture and stuff it into the bag. Do not fill the bag too much so that it won’t explode when it’s boiled. The last thing you do close the bag with a few stiches before putting the blóđmör into boiling and slightly salted boiling water and boil for about two hours.

 Making of Blóđmör

Now to the lifrarpylsa “liver sausage” just as healthy as blóđmör and even more popular with children – you’ll need:

Sheep liver
Sheep kidneys
Rye flour
Sheep’s suet

Again make sure you have enough suet chopped coarsely ready. Then start chopping or grating the liver and the kidneys finely and put into large container. Add milk, salt and oats before you start adding the rye flour gradually while stirring. The mixture has the right consistency when the spoon stands by itself in it without falling to the sides.

Now it’s time to add the suet and starting stuff the mixture into the bags. Sew them up and boil for about two hours.

 Making of Lifrarpylsa

Slátur is always popular with kids and best served with typical Icelandic root vegetables such as boiled swedes, potatoes and carrots. If you’ve gotten to know the local and traditional cuisine you might have put your finger on the fact that Icelanders like thick sauces and gravies with everything, slátur is no exception and for slátur the right choice is jafningur or a kind of a béchamel sauce.

Just for the fun of it, here’s how you make jafningur:

Wheat flour

 Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add table spoon or two while stirring constantly. Add milk and keep stirring. Boil until it thickens and season with salt and sugar (it’s supposed to be slightly sweet, really).

Well, now you’ve learnt all about making slátur and we hope you’ll take the plunge and try it at home.

Oh, and sorry about the gory pictures.


Anna Katrín


Esja Travel

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