When seeking a hearty winter warm-up in the Savo region of Finland, a good first step is finding the deeply brown dumplings known as myky. Because these dense patties get their rich color and flavor from animal blood, they were often made when animals were slaughtered or brought back from a hunt, and traditionally found their way into mykyrokka, or blood dumpling soup.
Also called tappaiskeitto, meaning “butchery soup,” the hearty meal has a history as an all-village affair. People would gather to distribute the butchered meat from whole animals (typically cows or pigs), making some into sausage and using the scraps for soup. Today, families still gather to assemble mykyrokka, mixing offal and chunks of meat with potatoes and onions, and shaping barley flour and blood into the iconic dumplings. When the soup is done, it provides just the sort of rib-coating warmth a body needs during the dark days of Finnish winter.