Posted by: Kath Usitalo | March 12, 2010

Recipe File: Salute St. Urho with Finnish Stew

Mojakka, Finnish beef stew

Last March I wrote about St. Urho, the legendary Finnish hero who saved the grape crop by chasing all the grasshoppers out of Finland. His feat is honored each March 16 by Finnish-Americans who host games, dances, suppers and the occasional mojakka cook-off.

For more on St. Urho see my blog post of March 16, 2009 (provided photo)

Mojakka (say moy-ah-ca) is our Finnglish word for beef stew. The addition of allspice gives it a special flavor. Add some good dark bread (try dunking it in the broth) and you’ve got a meal.

Mojakka always tastes better a day or even two days later, so I’m sharing this recipe now to allow you time to gather the exotic ingredients and cook up a pot on Sunday or Monday. Then you can kick back and enjoy all the St. Urho festivities on Tuesday.

Last week when Graham was home on break I made a huge pot of mojakka; I’d snagged a deal on 3 pounds of beef and adjusted the other ingredients accordingly. I thought I’d have plenty leftover to freeze for later. It took a couple of meals, but we managed to put it all away.


1 pound stewing beef
1 T oil or butter
2 tsp course salt
4 C boiling water
5 whole allspice (can use ground, taste it for amount)
1 or 2 onions, chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
additional salt and fresh ground pepper (optional) to taste

Brown the beef, turning only as needed until all sides are rich brown. Add salt, boiling water, and allspice, and simmer on low at least an hour until the meat is tender (more meat,  longer simmer). Keep the lid on part way so the broth doesn’t boil away.
Add the onions, carrots and potatoes and cook on low heat for another hour, or until the beef is very tender. Add salt, pepper, and more water if needed. Serves 4.

Best served the second day: Allow cooked stew to cool and refrigerate overnight. Reheat slowly.



  1. Ahhh….St. Urho’s Day brings back fond memories. My Finnish friends @ Northern would make this and then we’d go to St. Patty’s Day parties. We always tried to color the keg beer purple in his honor but ended up with black…let them drink their green beer, a toast to St. Urho!

    • Black beer!?! Ahhhh…youth 😉
      Soon the stew pots will be bubbling across the land…

  2. Can’t believe my Finnish wife had never even heard of St Urho’s Day. Will certainly be making sure that we celebrate it properly next year.

    • Absolutely. Better start the elaborate preparations now so you’re ready 😉

  3. interesting blog

    • Thank you.

  4. […] Mojakka, Finnish beef stew recipe […]

  5. […] Recipe File: Salute St. Urho with Finnish Stew (mojakka) […]

  6. My Mom and Grandmother called fish head Soup mojakka. I didn’t know it was anything but.? Thanks for the info. Dorene

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