Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Lambs are Growing & Scotch Barley Soup

The lambs are doing what lambs do well, and growing. Ditto 9-month-old Hazel.

Hazel is no longer terrified of them, and we even got her to get close to them. She still wants me really close to her when she's near them, though.
The little ewe is in the background, she has Barbados coloring with a Katahdin build. The little ram that I pulled out is in the foreground and has Katahdin coloring but a Barbados build. 

On another note, today I'm doing a recipe for Scotch Barley Soup! I found this recipe online and have modified it a little, supposedly it is from the Rose & Crown Pub at the UK Epcot. I just know that it is the absolute best recipe for ground mutton that I have found. Most recipes just don't stand up to that strong flavor, and taste too "mutton-y". If you've ever had mutton, you know what I'm talking about. It's not an easy weeknight style meal though since it has to simmer for an hour or so. It's a weekend afternoon thing for me.
Anyway, I realize that most people don't exactly have ground lamb or ground mutton on hand, but I'm also posting this so I can point customers to it in the future! It's very possible that ground beef would work in this soup, post a comment if you try it and let us know if it works!!
Also, I think this recipe would be just fine lactose-free by changing the butter to oil and changing the milk & cream in the last step to broth.

1 c pearl barley
1/4 c butter (4 Tbsp)
1 c combination of leeks, onions, green onions (I use whatever is in my fridge or is seasonal)
1 c diced carrots
1 c diced celery
1 c diced white turnips (this is 2-3 depending on how big they are)
1 lb ground lamb or ground mutton
2-3 Tbsp flour
64-128 oz chicken broth (more broth=thinner soup. I usually just use about 64 oz--2 cartons--plus whatever is open in my fridge and needs to be used up)
salt & pepper
2-3 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 c milk
3/4 c cream

Soak the barley in boiling water for 10 minutes while you work with the other ingredients.
Chop the veggies into bite-sizes pieces. I thought I'd mention here that if you get turnips from the grocery store instead of the farmer's market, it comes with a wax coating so you have to skin the turnip with your knife. 
Saute the leeks/onions/white part of green onions in butter in Dutch oven for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, turnips & cook for 10 minutes. Throw in the green parts of the green onions now if you're using them.
Add meat to veggies & cook until lightly browned. Sprinkle flour over meat to absorb fat. Drain barley and rinse with cold water.
Add barley and 1 c broth to meat & veggies. Cover and let steam over low heat 10 minutes. Add remaining broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1-1.5 hrs or until barley is tender. 

Take soup off heat. Blend cornstarch, cream, and milk and then stir into soup.

Add salt & pepper to taste. 
And you're done! This soup freezes really well, but usually Ryan and I just eat it as leftovers for a few days. Between the two of us, it lasts for about 4 meals each total (including the fresh soup). 

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