Pinnekjøtt is one of many Christmas dinners eaten in Norway. Traditionally eaten on the west coast of the country, but it is gaining popularity elsewhere too. In many places in the west of Norway, you'll know it is Christmas when the church bells chime in the afternoon of the 24th and the air has a faint smell of pinnekjøtt cooking. As the sun sets and people move inside and out of the cold, julefreden senker seg. Christmas peace descends across the country.
Pinnekjøtt is ribs from lamb that have been salted, and sometimes also smoked, to preserve it. For preparation, the meat needs to be soaked in water to remove most of the salt. The result is an intensely delicious and savoury piece of lamb - quite unlike anything else, and very very good (why yes, the writer of this recipe is Norwegian - but strictly objective, of course).
Side dishes vary between families, but a type of swede mash is always present. The natural sweetness of swedes works really well with the meat – finish off your plate with a dollop of lingonberry jam and have a shot of aquavit to drink. Some people also serve plain boilt potatoes and green beans, although this is not part of the traditional meal.