This is the perfect winter soup – thick and chunky – it’s real comfort food.
So full of goodness it will leave you begging for more.
I recommend making this soup the day before and let it sit overnight to develop its wonderful rich flavour.
It makes a good 8 serves and freezes well too so it will keep you and your family in food for a few weeks.
2 tbs olive oil
4 lamb shanks
100/120g of pancetta finely chopped (remove rind if any) – get the hot one, it’s my secret ingredient for a tiny bit of bite – your local supermarket or deli should have it – if they don’t have it use the normal pancetta and add a small pinch of chilli flakes.
200 to 250 gms of button mushrooms halved
2 medium carrots – small dice
2 sticks of celery – small dice
1 large brown onion finely chopped plus 1 medium leek (white part only) sliced
1 medium/small sweet potato – small dice
1 parsnip – small dice
1 small/medium red capsicum – small dice
2 medium Kipfler potatoes – small dice
1 good chunk of your favourite pumpkin – peeled and diced
6 French onions – peeled and left whole (if you can’t get them then use small pickling onions)
2/3 large cloves of garlic peeled, crushed and chopped
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 cups of good quality chicken stock and a good half cup of white wine (keep ½ cup of stock up your sleeve in case you need to thin the soup a little later in the cooking). Depending on how you like your soup, thick or a bit thinner, you may need more stock.
400 g can of diced/chopped tomatoes
70g (⅓ cup) of pearl barley – rinse in a sieve under cold running water
3 bay leaves – dried.
1. In a large pot with a lid (big enough to comfortably hold all the ingredients) heat half the oil and brown the lamb shanks – about 4 – 5 minutes. When done transfer to a plate. I usually use a large frying pan for the lamb shanks and a wok for the vegetables and as things cook I transfer them to the big boiling pot.
2. Heat (on medium/low) the rest of the oil in the pot and add the pancetta (stir briefly) then add all the diced vegetables. Stir for about 8 mins until they start to soften. Add the French onions, garlic, and rosemary and stir for 1 minute. Then add the lamb shanks.
3. Add the chicken stock, white wine, tinned tomatoes, barley, and bay leaves to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer (covered) for 2 to 2½ hours or until the lamb is starting to fall off the bone. Check every now and again to make sure it is not catching on the bottom of the pot.
4. Take the lamb shanks out of the pot and transfer them to another bowl to let cool. When cool enough to handle shred all the meat from the bones with a couple of forks, put the meat back in the same bowl, cover, and put in the fridge until required. In the meantime put the lid on the stockpot and put it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, skim and discard the fat.
5. To serve, put the shredded meat back in the stockpot and gently heat it until hot enough to serve. If the soup needs to be thinned a little, add some of the saved chicken stock and a splash more of the white wine (if you have any left).
6. Before serving taste and check the seasoning. Adjust as required.
This dish goes well with some nice warm crusty sourdough bread.
Another nice touch is to serve it with a sprinkle of gremolata on top: ¼ cup of freshly chopped flat parsley, 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind, and 1 crushed and finely chopped garlic clove – mix it all up and sprinkle on top of each bowl.
A sprinkle of shaved Parmesan adds a nice touch too.
Or, if you have a selection of fresh herbs growing in your garden then chop some up and sprinkle on top of your bowl of steaming goodness.
If you liked this recipe then I am sure your friends will too…….so please, like and share – it is too good to keep all to yourself :-).
Stay well – cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.