Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tonight's Dinner: Lamb Shank and Barley Soup

The only problem with buying half of a Spring lamb is that you are left, after a few months, with some random pieces of meat that you don't know how to use. I've been considering one lonely lamb shank (I wonder if my friend Nancy is still in possession of the other one) sitting in my freezer for awhile now, and when I woke up to some chilly weather this morning I decided to combine it with some potatoes and carrots I picked up at Quail Hill (hooray for my Winter Share), and some barley I had in the pantry, to make some soup. For fresh flavor, I topped each bowlful with some gremolata. Here is the recipe:

Lamb and Barley Soup with Gremolata
Serves 4

For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large, meaty lamb shank, trimmed of excess fat
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 ounces small waxy potatoes (I used fingerlings)
6 cups water
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
Cayenne pepper

For the gremolata:
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1. Make the soup: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the shank on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot and add the onions and carrots. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.
3. Stir in the potatoes, water, barley, rosemary, 1 teaspoons alt, and lamb shank. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered until the shank is tender and the meat is falling off the bone, about 1 hour.
4. Remove the shank, shred the meat, and stir it back into the soup. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.
5. Make the gremolata: Combine the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Spoon soup into soup bowls and top each with a spoonful of the gremalota. Serve immediately.


  1. A little frost this morning, but it warmed up nicely by afternoon. Sunday is supposed to be glorious. We must remember these mild days when January blows in!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. My husband was picking kale from the fields at Quail Hill! And they are still digging potatoes there! We picked a good year for the "winter" share.