Skeletons make great lamb soup
I am still on the fence about the title of this post. I considered calling it, “Boners,” because I’ve been reading about how to publicize what I’m doing and I thought maybe that word would be very search engine friendly. My mom and father-in-law have been reading my posts, though, so in the end I decided to give it a PG rating, although I told you the story about boners because I’m not giving up on the idea that perverts who also like to cook will find it as long as I throw the word in there somewhere. And now I’ve used the word twice!
Anyway. Last week I had a friend over for dinner – she’s the one who ate the alligator bites as the appetizer. I wanted to make something special for her for the main, so I was browsing and found a Jamie Oliver recipe for barbequed leg of lamb with thai green spices. I cooked it exactly according to his recipe, and it was delicious and cooked just to a nice pink level of juiciness.
Now you can’t just grab a lamb leg at my grocery store, but I thought it would be a good excuse to venture out of my neighborhood to find a real butcher. I was successful, and will be returning to Vince Gasparro’s Meat Market (like a real butcher I don’t think they have a website), where they were very friendly and knowledgeable. While I was there at the counter of the real butcher he asked whether or not I wanted the extra lengths of bones he had just sawed off so that the leg would fit in my pan. Huge apologies to vegetarians reading, because writing that almost disgusts me too. Without pausing, I answered, “yes please,” even though I have never cooked anything with bones in my life. This blog has made me cook really differently than I used to, though, because now cooking challenges me to find tasty uses for things I normally would have ignored. Kind of a good way to be. I swear the next time I go out for chicken wings I’m going to ask them to take the bones home in a doggy bag. Dare me?
So making lamb stock and soup from actual bones is not really dangerous cooking, but I’m including it because in the past, I always thought, “why wouldn’t you just always use purchased chicken or veg stock? It’s cheap and easy.” Well you know what? Making stock from bones is cheaper and easier! Although it takes more time (but no effort). And apparently, bone broth is high in easily digestible protein that also assists with calcium and digestive health. Also, when you have complete control over your stock you can remove the fat layer and make soup without added salt. Here are the recipes and methods I used, although I made a different soup from the ones listed on the stock site.
- Put lamb bones in a slow cooker and cover with about 1” of water
- Add 1tbsp vinegar (I used flavoured rice vinegar)
- Turn slow cooker on low and let it go for 12-24 hours. Mine went for about 20
- Strain stock into bowl through a cheesecloth. Add back any pieces of meat you can find if you like
- Put stock into fridge until you need it, or freeze it in containers. Pick off solidified fat layer when cold
When I picked mine up cold from the fridge I thought I had wrecked it, because it looked like jello…
…but when I googled, “my stock looks like jello,” I found this website that told me that congratulations, that was a good thing, and that now I had just proven why vegetarians don’t eat jello, because gelatin all jello comes from animals. It turned to soup when I heated it again and made up this tasty lamb soup recipe based on a number of recipes I browsed. Mine was heavy on sausage, but amounts are flexible. Please find the freedom in modifying the combination of ingredients to your own taste.
Protein Power Lamb Soup
- Homemade lamb stock, above (enough to fill a large pot)
- 2tbsp olive oil
- Lamb sausage
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 peeled, diced sweet potato
- A few big handfuls of chopped kale
- About 300mL white kidney beans (half a large can)
- 1 healthy tsp thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste. I found the homemade stock quite bland at first, but I think I’m just used to the great volumes of salt in commercial brands
Heat oil in a pan over med-high heat, while re-heating your stock in a large pot over high heat at the same time. Add onions and garlic to pan, heating until onions are translucent, 2-3mins. Add sausage until all pink is gone and liquids have been released, about 5-7mins. When stock is bubbling, drain fat from pan contents and add it to the pot, and then add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil before lowering heat to a gentle bubble, putting the lid on, allowing a low simmer for 1-2 hours. Enjoy!
Rating: 3 yums, as long as you like lamb