This is a tried and tested recipe from way back in the dreamtime. I was reminded of it recently when I was perusing "The Cooks Companion" by Stephanie Alexander. As she says its an old fashioned soup (my recipe comes from Nanna Queenie, but they are almost identical).
I haven't really felt the need for a lot of "winter warmer" recipes so far this autumn/winter. Mainly because although we've had a few cold days theres been nothing to drive you indoors looking for comfort food - yet.
However, I am getting psyched up for our Winter Issue of Off The Hook and I just know I will want to include some of my favourite winter recipes.
The benefits of broth made from the gelatinous goodness of bones is well documented. It is excellent for gut health. Making bone broth is a great way to use up any left over trimmings and bones from a lamb roast. You could also use those pesky neck chops or even the shanks would be ideal. If you are using chops or shanks to ensure maximum flavor I would recommend to roast them for 30 minutes in the oven first.
INGREDIENTS FOR BROTH
1kg lamb bones & trimmings from a roast (or) 2 lamb shanks (or) 4 neck chops
2 litres water
2 chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
Put bones and trimmings, onion, bay leaf, thyme into a slow cooker or stockpot and add water. Simmer for 8 hours. Top up with water if necessary. When its done, skim the fat off. You can either strain the broth now and store in an airtight container in the fridge (or freeze for 3 months) or carry on and add the rest of the soup ingredients.
INGREDIENTS FOR SOUP
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 leek, sliced
1 stick of celery, finely sliced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
Add pearl barley and simmer for 1 hour. Then add the remaining vegetables and simmer for 40 minutes until tender. If you've used shanks or chops remove them from the broth and cut the meat into small pieces before returning to the pot and set the bones aside. If you've used left over bones and trimmings remove anything inedible and cut any bits of meat into bite size pieces as well.
Sometimes to stretch this out or just to make this delicious soup go further I often add a few more cups of either water or ready made stock. It just makes it more 'soupy' as the barley can swell up and it becomes too chunky for my taste.
Don't forget to add plenty of salt and pepper to taste, serve garnished with parsley.