Spelt is a nutty-flavoured grain with its own sweetness, and goes really well with both mushrooms and lamb. Here, it enjoys both bedmates and the result is perfect for winter.
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 500 g lamb shoulder, trimmed, cut into 2 cm pieces
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 4 onions, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 350 g (about 2 cups) spelt grains (see Note) or 400 g (2 cups) pearl barley
- 200 g Swiss brown mushrooms, cut into 1 cm pieces
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp rosemary leaves
- 1 lemon, zested, juiced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 1 hour
Melt butter in a large, heavy-based casserole pan over medium–high heat. Working in batches, dust lamb with flour and cook, turning, for 2 minutes or until browned all over; take care to prevent lamb catching and burning the base of the pan.
Remove lamb from the pan and reduce heat to low. Add onions, celery, carrots and parsley, and cook, stirring often and adding a touch more butter if need be, for 2 minutes or until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook a further 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add bay leaves, thyme and spelt, then return lamb to the pan. Cover with at least 3 litres water, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Add mushrooms, season with ¼ tsp sea salt and ¼ tsp freshly milled black pepper, and cook for a further hour or until meat is tender and spelt has softened. Like most winter soups, this tastes better the next day.
To make green sauce, finely chop parsley with rosemary. Mix the herbs in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, then set aside for 1 hour at room temperature before using.
When ready to serve soup, stir half the green sauce into soup and simmer for 2 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and place the remaining green sauce on the table so people can help themselves.
• Spelt grains are from health food shops.
Photography Alan Benson