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Oh my gosh it's cold. I"m talking about teeth chattering, almost impossible to be outside without a jacket, beanie and gloves cold...which means we're well and truly in soup season!

I love a good soup, any time of the year. Yes in the heat of summer I generally don't like a hot hot soup but a delicious soup in the middle of summer is still completely ok in my mind! I do have to admit though that there are some soups which just scream comfort and are reserved only for winter. This is the category where a lamb avgolemono soup belongs.

Looking through the freezer the other day and realising I had a few bits and pieces here and there that need to be cleared, including some lamb shanks and neck pieces, I remembered mum making a lamb avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup when I was little. I gave her a call and she told me to put whatever I wanted really - no hard and fast rules. The recipe developer in me sighed as this is standard when I ask for an old recipe. You see mum is of that generation that are fantastic cooks but just cook "with their eyes" ("me ta matia" in Greek), making it hard to get instructions over the phone...oh well, gives me many excuses to cook with her - although there is definitely a pen and paper alongside me the whole way!

The cook instinct within me took over and to my delight, the first sip of the soup took me back 35 years - success! It is a simple soup to make but one that cannot be rushed. To really get the benefit of every bit of flavour from the lamb, make sure it is simmered long and slow - no short cuts here. You will be rewarded though with the most delicious, nutritious soup that will no doubt become part of the weekly menu on a more regular basis.

As always, please tag me on your socials if you give this recipe a go...oh, and of course it is so important to get your hands on the best quality lamb you can, preferably grass fed and finished, to gain the maximum benefit from the meat itself!

Take care and stay warm!

H xx

Serves: 6-8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours

Ingredients:

  • 5-6L water
  • 3 medium lamb shanks
  • 4 lamb neck pieces
  • salt, pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, including leaves, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 dill stalks, reserve the fronds to use as a garnish
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 1½ cups risoni
  • 2 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Place the water and lamb pieces in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Skim off the scum that arises to the surface and discard.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, oil, carrots, celery, dill stalks and cloves to the water and bring to a boil. Then lower to the lowest possible heat and allow to simmer for 3 – 3 ½ hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. 
  3. Remove the meat and veggies from the broth and set aside. Discard the dill stalks and cloves. Bring the water to a boil again and add the risoni, stirring occasionally until it is cooked through.
  4. Add three ladles of broth into a jug with the lemon juice and set aside for a moment. Beat (or whisk) the egg whites in a separate bowl until super frothy (I like to use a hand held mixer for this). Add the yolks and continue to beat until well incorporated. Slowly add the lemon juice/ broth to the eggs, making sure to continue to beat the mixture so that the egg doesn't curdle.
  5. Immediately add the egg mixture to the main soup, slowly stirring the whole time to prevent the egg curdling. Slowly bring the soup to a boil again, slowly stirring the whole time. Check the seasoning and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice, if needed.
  6. To assemble, shred some of the meat and veggies. Ladle soup into bowls, add the shredded meat and veggies and top with the reserved dill fronds. Serve piping hot.



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