300 Sensational Soups
by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds
We love this soup because of its simplicity. Browned meat bones are stewed with stock, vegetables and barley, and the result is satisfying and nourishing right down to your toes. We use lamb in this version, but feel free to substitute beef oxtails if you prefer.
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 2 lbs lamb neck bones or shanks, trimmed of excess fat
• 1 onion, chopped 1 stalk celery, chopped
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
• 2 bay leaves
• 6 cups beef stock
• 1 cup chopped turnip
• 1/2 cup pearl barley
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
• 1 tbsp malt vinegar
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb bones and cook until well browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a plate.
2. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, celery, carrot and leeks to the pot and saute until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Return lamb bones to the pot and add bay leaves, stock, turnip, barley, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is falling off the bones, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Skim the fat from the surface with a large spoon. Discard bay leaves.
3. Remove lamb bones from the pot and let cool slightly. Pick the meat from the bones and shred into bite-size pieces. Discard bones. Return meat to the soup and simmer until heated through. Stir in parsley and vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.
4. Ladle into heated bowls.
Seasoning with a little bit of vinegar at the end of cooking heightens the flavor of the soup. Although most home cooks think only in terms of salt and pepper when it comes to adjusting the seasoning in their dishes, we've found that a little acid goes a long way toward making a soup taste just right.