mutton and barley soup

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There are two ways to go with this soup. If you really like the taste of mutton (like I do, goat is even better but a bit harder to get a hold of), then get yourself some shoulder chops and shanks, trim off the meat and make yourself some mutton stock. If mutton is a bit too strong for you but you like the taste of a bit of lamb, then just get a couple of lamb leg steaks and make the soup using a good chicken stock or vegetable broth.
Servings:
10
Preparation Time:
2 hours
Tools
  • 4 qt. soup pot w/ lid
  • 2 qt. saucier w/ lid
  • wooden spoon
  • 1 c. ladle or measuring cup
  • cutting board & knife
  • plate

Ingredients

  • 1 qt. liquid (stock or broth)
  • 2 t. peanut oil
  • 1 c. whole barley
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. meat (mutton or lamb)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c. dry sherry
  • 1 qt. liquid (stock or broth)
  • 3 t. dry thyme
  • 2 t. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t. chipotle powder (or smoked paprika for a milder soup)
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 2 T. parsley, chopped
  • 2 T. green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
Cooking Instructions
  1. Place liquid into the soup pot, covered, over medium heat. You just want to get it warmed up while the barley is toasting. (If liquid is not salted, at 1 T. of kosher salt.)
  2. Place the saucier over medium-high heat and add the peanut oil. When the oil is hot add the barley and stir to coat the barley with the oil.
  3. Keep stiring the barley slowly while it toasts. You will start to smell the aroma just as it starts to get a nice golden-brown colour. Turn off the heat under both pots.
  4. Carefully add the hot stock/broth to the barley. (Watch out for the steam and splatter with the first addition of liquid!)
  5. Cover the saucier and place it over your lowest heat or into a 225F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  6. Wipe down the soup pot, put it back over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
  7. Add the meat after the oil is hot and leave the cover slightly ajar for 4 minutes. You want a nice brown crust to form on the meat.
  8. Chop the carrot, celery, and onion; and mince the garlic.
  9. Turn over the meat and cook for another 4 minutes then remove the meat to the plate to rest.
  10. Add the carrot, celery, and onion to the to soup pot along with the kosher salt, stir to combine, turn the heat down to medium, and cover for 4 minutes.
  11. Add the garlic, stir, and cover for 2 more minutes.
  12. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, add the mutton and the sherry, stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  13. Add the liquid, cover, and wait until the barley is done cooking.
  14. Remove the meat to the cutting board and add the barley, plus whatever liquid may still be left in the saucier, to the soup pot. Cover and leave over the lowest heat.
  15. When the meat is cool enough to handle, chop it up and add it to the soup pot along with the dry thyme, black pepper, and chipotle powder.
  16. Cover and let it sit for 15 minutes before tasting. (Dry thyme needs time.)
  17. Stir in the peas, parsley, and green onions.
  18. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. The thyme will be a bit stronger the next day.
Notes
Serve with a crusty garlic and cheese bread and a spinach salad.

The soup base is very flexible so mix it up a bit. This is a good way to teach yourself how different spices, grains, and meats will cook and work together.

The mutton can be replaced with beef or goat; the barley can be replaced with wheat, spelt, triticale, or brown rice (reduce cooking times by 15 minutes); and the thyme can be replaced with rosemary or 1/2 the amount of marjoram or cumin.