Here in Sens, the days are starting to heat up, although the mornings are still chilly. I think, because of the heat, our lunchtime appetites have diminished and we are more willing to eat moderately after it starts to cool down, about 5 or 6 in the afternoon. That’s why I decided to make a soup to have in the refrigerator for those early evening “casse-croutes” when we are hungry but not ravenous. The family and random neighbors agreed.
I went to the farmers’ market with nothing particular in mind, relying on the bounty of the summer market to guide my footsteps. Sure enough, there were those slices of lamb neck that have been throwing me seductive glances since I arrived from the States several weeks ago. Not the same ones! But certainly members of their family- 😀
“Get those carrots”, said the pushy lamb slices in my shopping basket. “You’ve got leeks, celery and fresh herbs at home. Trust us on this.” When I’m in France, good quality food talks to me. Maybe this sounds bizarre but when I’m in the States, I don’t hear a thing, understandably. Or maybe I’m just bat sh*t crazy. There’s that :p
Anyway, this was a mah-velous idea and delicious.
Lamb and Barley Soup
2 lbs of lamb neck sliced and seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, cut into eighths
1 celery branch, quartered with a few leaves
1 carrot, quartered
3 fresh bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery branches, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 cup barley
Salt and pepper
In a large skillet, brown the lamb on all sides with the olive oil, then set the skillet aside. Place the lamb in a large stock pot with the onion, celery branch, carrot, bay leaves, thyme and water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours. Reserving the broth, remove the meat from the bones, discard any unsightly vegetables and/or herbs, then return the meat, vegetables and broth to the pot.
In the reserved skillet, saute the leeks, garlic, celery slices, carrot slices until the leek is tender. Add the sauteed vegetables and barley to the pot, season with salt and pepper, stir, bring to a boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
To serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.