dimanche, avril 09, 2006

Lamb & Dal (Lentil) Soup

In Stuttgart (et environs), for some reason, they do not eat much seafood or lamb here. And whatever beef you manage to find comes sliced for steaks, cut into cubes for goulash or minced.

I miss cuts like Côte de Boeuf, Entrecôte, Faux-filet, Bavette, Rumpsteak, Tournedo etc etc that I could easily get in France. The uninitiated would say : ''what's with the cut? Beef is beef.'' Well, goes to show that he hasn't chewed much in his life. The texture of the meat changes with the cut and different parts of the carcass are made for different cooking methods. And that's just a summary.

Anyway, I found a shoulder of lamb on Friday and promply roasted it for Sunday lunch. The whole family had a great time. The meat was succulent and even the baby kept asking for more meat (that's my boy!). It was a pity throwing the bones away and I hit upon the idea of making soup with them. And so we had a lovely Lamb and Dal Soup last evening.

It was really very simple. In a pot, heat up some olive oil and brown 1 onion (sliced), 2 cloves of garlic (bashed), 1 thumb-sized ginger (sliced), 1/2 Tsp of ground cumin, 1 Tsp of ground coriander seeds, 1/2 Tsp of Turmeric powder, 1/2 Tsp ground paprika, 10-15 whole cloves and 15-20 black peppercorns. Put in the lamb shoulder bones (or any part of the lamb with bones). When everything is nicely browned, add in 1/2 to 1 cup of lentils (I used whole green lentils from Puy in France), 1 bay leaf and 5 cups of chicken stock. Remove the scum. Simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Check water level and add in more stock if necessary. Add in 1 can of tomato purée, juice from 1 lemon, salt to taste and some fresh coriander leaves. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

Serve hot with homemade croutons (toast some bread, add olive oil and lemon juice on them).

PS : If you want a ''cleaner'' soup, strain the soup, remove everything else and return the lentils to the soup before serving. Another option would be to blend the soup with a handheld mixer to obtain a creamy soup.

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