Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Welsh Lamb and Buttermilk Soup

The leek, the national emblem of Wales, plays a delicious part in this soul-warming soup. It’s one of the best in my culinary repertoire, a perfect dish for a cold winter night.

Leeks - Courtesy of Photobucket
Don’t be put off by all the steps. It’s easy if it’s done in parts, the prep work one day, the finish work a day or so later. I prefer to do this in steps for two reasons. Cooling the broth solidifies the fat in the broth, making it easy to remove. And on the day you decide to serve the soup, it’s a cinch to put together. All you’ll need is your favorite crusty bread, or perhaps some Popovers.

Mwynhewch eich bwyd! (Bon appetit!)

2 lbs. lamb bones
1½-lb. piece of lean leg of lamb
2 leeks, washed and chopped
2 stalks of celery with leaves, washed and chopped
2 small purple turnips, peeled and quartered
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
10 cups water (2 ½ qts.)

4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. flour
2 ½ cups buttermilk
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley

1. Rinse the bones and meat and place in a soup kettle with the water. Bring slowly to a boil, skimming frequently. After the foam has subsided, add the leeks, celery, turnips, and onions. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. Remove the bones and meat and set them aside. Strain the soup and discard the vegetables. Return the bones to the kettle with the strained broth and simmer till it is reduced to about 5 ½ cups.

2. Transfer broth and meat to separate containers and refrigerate until ready to finish soup.

3. Bring the buttermilk to room temperature. Remove the fat from the broth. Place broth in sauce pot and bring to a simmer. Dice the lamb into bite-sized pieces, trimming off fat and gristle as you go.

4. Melt butter in a soup pot. Stir in the flour and simmer over low heat until golden. Add the buttermilk slowly, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the hot lamb broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Adjust the seasonings. Stir in the reserved lamb and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add parsley, and serve. Serves 4-6

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