Reestit Mutton Soup from Shetland

Reestit Mutton Soup Recipe

Reestit Mutton from ShetlandReestit Mutton is a variation of the Scandinavian skerpikjøt, an air dried mutton, or vivda, Norse for ‘leg meat’. It is a traditional Shetland way of preserving mutton with salt for consumption during the winter months.

The mutton is first salted in brine and was then traditionally hung in the rafters (reest) of houses, where the peat smoke will add flavour and help preserve the meat. It could very likely be called Shetland’s national dish.

One of the most common ways you’ll encounter Reestit Mutton when you visit Shetland is in the form of delicious Reestit Mutton Soup.

This recipe comes from our friend Elizabeth Atia, whose brilliant website, Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, contains many more mouthwatering Shetland recipes along with an insider’s guide to the islands!


  • Reestit mutton – 2 lb
  • Cold water – (to cover)
  • Onion – 1 (finely diced)
  • Potatoes – 300 grams (peeled and finely diced)
  • Turnip – 225 grams (peeled and finely diced)
  • Carrots – 200 grams (peeled and finely diced)
  • Water – 2 pints (or lamb stock)

Reestit Mutton Soup from ShetlandMethod

  1. Place the reestit mutton in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and continue to boil for almost two hours, or until tender. Remove the meat from the pan.
  2. Reserve a ladleful of the cooking water. Skim off the fat and add more water (or lamb stock) to your own taste.
  3. Add the chopped potatoes, carrots, turnip and onion and boil until tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Mash the vegetables into smaller pieces, if desired, and add the reestit mutton, finely chopped for the last few minutes of cooking.
  5. Serve with buttered bread.


Storage advice for unused reestit mutton: Store in a dry environment. Do not refrigerate. Alternatively, cut to your requirements and freeze.

Photos © Elizabeth Atia

Pin it!Reestit Mutton Soup Recipe

Share this page
Print this Page
View more articles about the Shetland Islands

More like this:

30 birds to see in Shetland

30 birds to see in Shetland

Did you know that over 1 million seabirds arrive and nest in the vast seabird colonies on Shetland's cliffs? The croft land, voes, lochs and sandy beaches of Shetland are also very attractive to a large variety of birds. We hope you enjoy our beginner's guide to 30 birds to see in Shetland, and where to find them. Can you see them all during your holiday in Shetland?

Stormy Petrels in Mousa Broch

Stormy Petrels in Mousa Broch

Laurie Goodlad, a tour guide from 'Shetland with Laurie' has written about the midnight trip to Mousa. During the trip you can see the Storm Petrels return to their nests within the walls of the Iron Age building, Mousa Broch. Read on if you love amazing adventures and bucket-list experiences!

A walk to the Stones of Stofast

A walk to the Stones of Stofast

Laurie Goodlad, a tour guide from 'Shetland with Laurie' has written about a fabulous walk in Lunna Ness on the east side of Shetland, which she has kindly shared with NorthLink Ferries. The walk to the Stones of Stofast takes you across a scenic hillside to massive house-sized boulders. Read on if you love amazing adventures and gob-smacking sights!