Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lamb and Pearl Barley Soup

Barley soup appears in a couple of Kerry Greenwood novels, but none featuring Phryne. It's the sort of hearty winter meal that would appeal more to workers like Cec or Bert than a lady. 

This recipe is adapted from one published in the Argus on 18 February 1931 as a "meatless" Lenten Dish. I've added a raw lamb bone for flavour (a shoulder, from which I cut most of the meat for a navarin of lamb later) but the soup is probably still good without it. Cutting the vegetables into fairly small pieces makes it more visually appealing.

I ended up omitting the milk, egg yolk and nutmeg even though they would make the soup  smoother and richer. 

Lamb and Pearl Barley Soup

60g or 1/2 cup pearl barley
1 lamb bone (shoulder or leg)
2 tablespoons butter
3 small carrots, thinly sliced
2 onions, diced
1 turnip, peeled and cut into small dice
1 stalk celery, sliced
6 peppercorns
2 cloves
1 blade mace (or nutmeg)
salt, pepper
250 ml milk 
1 egg yolk

Put the pearl barley in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight.

Saute 1 carrot and 1 onion in 1 tablespoon butter for a few minutes, without browning. Add the lamb bone, brown on all sides, the seasonings and 4 or 5 cups of water. Bring to the boil, skim, reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling from the bone.

Strain the stock, reserve the meat, discard the vegetables and seasonings. (Putting the stock in the freezer for 20 0r 30 minutes will make it easier to remove the fat.)

Saute the remaining onion, carrots, celery and turnip in 1 tablespoon butter for a few minutes until soft. Add the pearl barley, the lamb (cut into small pieces) and lamb stock; simmer for 20-30 minutes. 

The soup can be thickened, if desired. Remove from heat. Stir in 250 ml milk, mixed with the beaten yolk of one egg, return to heat and add a dash of nutmeg.

Season to taste and serve with fried bread cut into slices.

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