Tuesday 29 October 2013

Lamb and Barley Soup with Mushrooms

Week #4, Soup #4.  I promised to do something different other than the three pureed vegetable soups made in the past few weeks:

Week 1: Ginger Carrot Soup with Coconut and Miso
Week 2: Broccoli Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts
Week 3: Acorn Squash Soup with Bacon and Sage Crisps
The combination of lamb, barley and mushroom makes for a cozy, fall day kind of meal.

To make the stock:

1 lb lamb shank
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
5 springs each thyme and parsley
12 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf
6 cups water

Remove some of the fat from the shank if possible.  Put all stock ingredients into a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer for approximately one hour when the lamb should be tender.  Remove lamb shank.  Strain liquid into another container.  If you didn't remove enough fat from the shank at the beginning, you may want to take a break at this time and refrigerate the stock.  The fat will rise to the surface and can easily be removed.  Otherwise, proceed directly with soup (as I did).

Remove the meat from the shank and shred or dice it.  Set aside.

The Soup

1 shallot, diced
1 small carrot, diced
 4 oz shiitake mushrooms,diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, diced
Red wine vinegar
Diced / shredded lamb
1/2 cup pearled barley
Additional stock as required

Heat a soup pot and add 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Saute the diced shallot and carrot, approximately 7-10 minutes.

In a separate pan, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the mushrooms.  Allow mushrooms to brown on one side then stir and add some salt (1/2 tsp).  When brown on the other side, add a splash of red wine vinegar and stir to pick up any bits that have stuck to the pan.  Once the vinegar has cooked away, add mushrooms to the soup pot along with some thyme leaves (leaves from about 3-4 sprigs).  Cook 1-2 minutes.

Add the lamb pieces and reserved stock, simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add barley and cook until tender, 45-60 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the barley thickens the soup too much, add additional stock to your preference.

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