Nanna’s lamb and barley soup

Version 2Perfect for when the weather turns icy, this dish is probably the most famous in my family – we all loved it as kids, and I still crave it when in need of some comfort food. I make mine a bit differently to my Nan, but I don’t think she’d mind.


3 lamb shanks (French-trimmed)
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 large carrot
2 sticks celery
1 medium zucchini
1 large bunch of greens, such as curly kale or chard
¾ cup (170g/6oz) mixed dried beans (you can generally buy these as a soup mix)
¾ cup (170g/6oz) barley
1 litre (2 pints) beef stock
2 litres (4 pints) water
Sea salt
Olive oil
Chop the onion and garlic, and heat some olive oil in a large stock pot on medium heat. Fry onion and garlic for a few minutes and then add the shanks. Brown the shanks on each side, and then add the barley, beans, water and stock. Bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer for one hour. While the soup is simmering, chop the carrot, celery and zucchini. Add in after the first hour and simmer for a further hour. Chop the greens while the soup is simmering, making sure to remove the stalks first. After the second hour, remove the shanks and strip the meat from the bones with a fork. Return the lamb meat to the pot along with the chopped greens and a good pinch of salt. Simmer for a further 5 minutes and season further if required.

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