By Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely Don’t throw out your lamb bone! This soup-stew is an excellent way to turn any bone and bits of meat and juice left from a roast into a nourishing and satisfying dish, perfect for an early spring day. Quantities are deliberately vague: use what you have on hand, adding additional vegetables as you wish, such as that half-can of plum tomatoes at the back of the fridge. This soup needs to be made a day or more ahead, so the barley thickens the broth and flavors meld together.
Makes approximately 8 servings.
To make your stock:
Leftover lamb bones and any juices and pan scrapings Onion, celery stalk, carrot, bay leaf etc.
Take all the meat off the lamb bone, trim any fat or gristle, wrap and set aside, chilled. Put the lamb bones into a large pot with any juices and scrapings from the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover generously with cold water, put the lid on and bring to a boil; simmer for an hour. You can add an onion, celery stalk, carrot, bay leaf etc., but you’ll also be adding these later, so don’t worry if you omit them now. Simmer another hour. Let the stock cool, strain to remove the solids (save any bits of meat from the bone), and chill the stock. When cold, remove the solidified fat on top. This can be done ahead, the stock can be frozen to use later.
To make your soup:
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced 1 celery stalk, sliced 1 fat carrot, chopped 1 large onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced Lamb stock (see above) 1 bay leaf 1 sprig rosemary 2 sprigs thyme 3 sprigs fresh parsley + more for garnish 10 whole black peppercorns Any leftover lamb, trimmed of fat and gristle, cut into dice 1/2 cup pearl barley Salt to taste
Pour the oil into the bottom of a large pot. Over medium heat, sauté the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they give up their juices and start to color, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, lower the heat slightly, and cook until they soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock with the herbs and peppercorns. Cook for about 30 minutes, then add the reserved diced lamb and barley. Cook for 30 minutes more, until the barley softens and swells. When the soup is cool, fish out and discard the bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Let the soup mellow for at least a day, chilled. To serve, reheat gently, salt to taste, and scatter chopped parsley on top. Ladle into warm bowls and serve with crusty bread.