Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Soup and Bread - It's winter time!

What I love most about eating with the seasons is that each season has its special treat.  For me, winter means time for soup or stew and a good loaf of homemade bread.  Not much can top that for a lunch or dinner.  Yesterday, I made a lamb stew with fennel, napa cabbage, carrots, leeks and a lamb shank.  Here's the recipe:

Lamb Stew (Makes about 1 gallon of soup)

1/2 lb. dried lima beans, soaked overnight, with 2 bay leaves
3-4 TBSP Olive oil
3 leeks, washed and rinsed well, cut into circles no more than 1/8 inch thick
1 fennel bulb, diced along with the chopped fronds
1 medium napa cabbage, cut in shreds
4 large carrots, diced
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP dried parsley
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt or more to your taste
generous grinding of fresh black pepper
2 TBSP minced fresh parsley
1 lamb shank

In a heavy bottomed soup pot over medium high heat, heat the olive oil.  Add the sliced leeks and salt.  Saute until leeks start to wilt.  Add the fennel, carrots and cabbage, dry seasonings and black pepper.  Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot.  Cook the veggies for 10 minutes, stirring well about 5 minutes into the cooking time. Place the lamb shank on top of the veggies.   Remove bay leaves from the lima beans, then strain the soaked lima beans and rinse under water.  Place the beans in the pot with the lamb and veggies. Add enough water to cover everything 1 or 2 inches (you can make the soup as thick or thin as you like, but be sure to put in enough water to cook the beans as they will absorb water as they cook).  Add the fresh parsley. Bring the heat up to medium high until the soup comes to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer 2-4 hours until the meat falls off the lamb shank bone.  Stir occasionally during this time to ensure even cooking and add water if needed during this time. Remove the bay leaves.  Eat some hot soup now or allow to cool and place in containers to freeze or refrigerate for later use. 

We had this soup today for lunch with some fresh baked sourdough rye bread - recipe on http://www.breadtopia.com


Here's a picture of the bread:

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