During this time of mild winter days and brutally cold evenings, nothing warms a body better than a delicious hot soup. Last eve I had the following (which I’d prepared a day earlier), it certainly did its job; no wonder soup is considered comfort food:
Hearty Winter Soup
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lb 2 oz neck of lamb
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 carrots, sliced
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 4 cups vegetable stock *
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh parsley sprigs
- 2 oz pearl barley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottom saucepan and add the pieces of lamb, turning them to seal and brown on both sides. Take the lamb out of the pan and set aside until ready to use.
- Add the onion, carrots and leeks to the saucepan and cook gently for about 3 minutes.
- Return the lamb to the saucepan and add the vegetable stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pearl barley. Bring the mixture in the pan to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Discard the parsley sprigs. Lift the pieces of lamb from the broth and allow them to cook slightly. Remove bones and any fat and chop the meat. Return the lamb to the broth and reheat gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Yields: 4 servings
You may want to prepare the soup a day earlier (as I did), let it cool, cover it, and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, remove and discard the layer of fat from the surface and reheat the soup gently. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve.
* Vegetable Stock
- 1 tbsp sunflower or corn oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped leek
- 2/3 cup finely chopped carrots
- 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup finely chopped fennel
- 1 small tomato, finely chopped
- 10 cups of water
- 1 bouquet garni
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and leek, cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining vegatables, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the water and bouquet garni, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain the stock into a bowl, let cool, cover and refrigerate. Use immediately or freeze in portions for up to three months.
Yields: 8 1/2 cups
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!