Persian Lamb and Barley Soup with Yoghurt Flatbreads

Lamb and barley soupI always find nourishing comfort in soup. If it’s a soft smooth blended soup or a clear broth, it does not matter I am deeply in love with soup. This Persian-inspired soup is a broth of slow cooked lamb with chickpeas, pearl barley and onion. Simple flavours that remind me of soups my mother used to make for me as a child.

These yoghurt flatbreads have become a regular fall back at my place. Mainly due to the fact that I always have the ingredients to hand and they are a cinch to make. It’s from one of my favourite sources of inspiring food that works, Ottolenghi. He has shared the recipe for us here. I often tweak the herbs to suit what I’m making. The recipe calls for fresh coriander but here I have used a pinch of dried mint instead. On other occasions I have substituted fennel seeds, fresh parsley or crush cumin seeds.

lamb and barley soup

Persian Lamb and Barley Soup

1 big tablespoon clarified butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 lamb shank

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

60g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained

a pinch of saffron threads

50g pearl barley

1 big handful of chopped parsley

juice 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon dried mint

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and warm clarified butter. Add onions and soften. Add garlic and turmeric, add lamb shank to brown on all sides. Pour in a litre of boiling water and lower to a gentle simmer. Cover with lid askew and simmer gently for 90 minutes. Add chickpeas and saffron then continue cooking for another hour. Then add pearl barley and cook for 30 minutes. Lamb should be falling off the bone by this stage. Remove the meat from the bone and discard the bone. Add salt and pepper to taste, parsley and lemon juice. Combine mint and olive oil. Serve hot with greek yoghurt, mint oil, crisp fried onion and yoghurt flatbreads.

Serves 2.

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