Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lamb Shank & Pearl Barley Soup

It's winter down under and while it's not as cold as some parts of the world, most of Sydney's houses aren't that well heated so evenings can be chilly.  Time for a hearty winter soup to keep the whole family happy. This one is super easy - all in one pot on the stove for a few hours or pop everything in the slow cooker before you head out to work.

Welcome to my Lamb Shank and Pearl Barley Soup ... my personal version of a very old fashioned recipe for Scotch Broth that I've perfected over many winters.

The first time I had ever tried this was in a restaurant in Melbourne. it was freezing cold and Phil and I found a little restaurant near Southbank. We were seated outside under a heater and it was so cold. Phil ordered a lamb soup and it was absolutely divine. My mouth still waters over the memory of it. Perhaps it was that we were young and in love and the night so very cold and the restaurant was intimate and the soup was warm and delicious.  Anyway we were both crowded over it checking out all the ingredients so we could make it again when we got home.  I told my mum about it and she said it sounded like a scotch broth.  Here's how to make my version. Leave out the tomatoes if you wish for a more traditional scotch broth.

2 carrots
3 celery sticks
2 onions
2 leeks (I had run out of leeks last night)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup of pearl barley
1 tin of diced tomatoes
2 big lamb shanks (or use any lamb chops)
2 litres of stock or water
salt and pepper to taste
bouquet garni
parsley to garnish

I posted this on Instagram and there was a "Yes, Please" for the recipe

Chop up all your vegetables very finely.
Rinse your pearl barley under running water.
Add diced vegetables, tinned tomatoes, pearly barley, bouquet garni and lamb shanks into a big pot or slow cooker and cover with your stock or water. 

I have a real thing for bouqet garni - make your own infusion or just buy it.
Bring slowly to the boil. Once boiling you will need to skim the surface to remove the fat (or whatever that is on the top??).  I think in a slow cooker you wouldn't need to do this.  Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let simmer for several hours. I usually let it simmer on the stove for about 3-4 hours.

You will then need to scoop out the lamb shanks with tongs and remove the meat from the bones. I find that the easiest way to do this is wrap some kitchen paper towel around one end of the shank and then with tongs or a knife I just pull the meat off the bone. By this time the meat is pretty much falling off the bone anyway. At this time I also cut away any fat or gristle. Cut the meat up so it is all shredded and return the meat to the soup.

Depending on how "soupy" you like it you can add more water or let it reduce a little.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with parsley.

I hope you love this as much as we do here at Lilyfield Life.  I made enough for our family and our lovely neighbours.  My neighbour swapped the soup for the beautiful bread from Victoire. What a treat!

a close up of the soup
This serves 6-8 people depending on how big your vegetables and shanks are.  Even if you don't think you can cook, you can definitely make this meal as this is such an easy recipe. 

Not even a recipe really, just 4 little steps to creating a delicious hearty healthy meal...cooked from scratch. And it's sure to be a winner.  

Lots of leftovers of this here today also ... Yum yum ... happy husband....



  1. That looks really good! Wish I was your neighbour!! Have a good day! Mx

  2. Yum, that looks delish!

    I made a lamb shank stew last night. Shanks are the best! Thanks for all your help with the bloggy Fiona.

    1. my pleasure Jo - Have you seen my recipe for Italian Lamb Shanks. it's a winner also.
      love these easy hearty winter recipes. I especially love how happy they make my hungry husband!
      cheers Fiona

  3. Looks yummy! I'll definitely give it a try! We had lamb shanks last night...very late though as we had a 3 hour blackout after I got them into the slow cooker! Murphy's Law that!
    x KL


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