This is the perfect winter comfort food. Full of goodness and it will leave you begging for more. I recommend making this soup the day before and let it sit overnight to develop. It makes a good 8 serves and freezes well so it will keep you and your family in soup 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 version and add a pinch of chilli
2 medium carrots – small dice
2 sticks of celery – small dice
1 large brown onion finely chopped
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 use small pickling onions)
2/3 large cloves of garlic peeled, crushed and chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
4 cups of chicken stock and 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)
400 g can of diced/chopped tomatoes
70g (⅓ cup) of rinsed pearl barley
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 and wok 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 stock, white wine, tinned tomatoes, barley and bay leaves to the pot. Cover and bring to the 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. Take the lamb shanks out of the pot and transfer 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. Next morning skim and discard the fat.
4. To serve put the shredded meat back in the stock pot and gently heat 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).
Goes well with some nice warm crusty bread too.
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. Some shaved Parmesan is good too.
If you liked this recipe then your friends will too…….so please like and share.
Cheers – John.