Pea & Lamb Soup

Thanks to the new ‘Flashback’ feature on this blog and to the enthusiasm of Shanna of Curls and Carrots, it is time for another international food blogging project. Recently I featured Classic Dutch Pea Soup as a Flashback from two years ago, and Shanna commented she wanted to prepare a variation of the recipe. I first reacted that I couldn’t imagine erwtensoep (the Dutch word for this dish that is very popular in winter) without pork (as I guessed that was the reason for the variation), but then I suggested that perhaps a version with lamb could work. Enthusiastic as always, Shanna loved this idea and suggested we both try this. And so we did, and now we are doing a simultaneous post to share our efforts with all of you. Click here to check out Shanna’s!

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Why did I think of lamb as a replacement for pork in the first place? There were two reasons: the first reason is that for erwtensoep pork shank is often included as one of the main ingredients. Lamb shank came to mind as a good substitute for that. The second reason was that lamb is often paired with a mint sauce, and peas are often paired with mint as well. It is not uncommon either to pair all three of them together. And that is what I did. And guess what? It worked very well! The lamb pea soup was still hearty and perfect for winter, but slightly more elegant than the pork version. The mint gave it a freshness that made it even more elegant. The biggest difference in the flavor profile is that erwtensoep has smoked pork sausage as one of the most characteristic flavors. A similar lamb sausage is not available. I did include lamb sausages, but simply poached them in the soup as I do not own a cold smoker (yet?). Perhaps I’ll try hot-smoking the lamb sausage next time. Anyway, here’s what I did.

Ingredients

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For 3 servings

2 lamb shanks, about 500 grams (1.1 lbs)

3 lamb sausages, about 225 grams (.5 lb)

250 grams (1 1/4 cup) dried split peas

1 onion (about 100 grams), minced

1 celery stalk (about 100 grams), minced

1 carrot (about 100 grams), minced

1 litre (4 cups) lamb stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper

olive oil

fresh mint, chopped

Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 225ºC/450ºF. Rub the lamb shanks with olive oil and put them in a baking dish.

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Brown the lamb shanks in the hot oven for about 20-30 minutes. This will provide additional flavor.

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Meanwhile, brown the minced onion, carrot, and celery in a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot until they are fragrant and golden.

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Wash the peas with water. There is no need to soak them.

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Transfer the browned lamb shanks to the pot with the vegetables.

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Deglaze the baking dish with some of the lamb stock.

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Use a spatula to scrape all browned bits from the baking dish.

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Add the stock from the baking dish to the pot.

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Add the remaining stock as well.

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Add the peas. Season with salt (I used about 1 tsp) and freshly ground black pepper.

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Bring to a boil.

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Lower the heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 2 hours, stirring now and then.

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After two hours, add the sausages. Continue to simmer the soup over low heat for 20 minutes or until the sausages are just cooked through.

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Turn off the heat. Take the shanks out of the pot.

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Remove the bone, fat, and connective tissue. Roughly chop the meat.

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Take out the sausages as well and slice them up.

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Return the sliced sausage and chopped meat to the soup and allow the soup to cool. Refrigerate the soup overnight.

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The next day, the soup has become solid. Allowing the soup to solidify like that will improve both the flavor and texture.

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Reheat the soup gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with chopped fresh mint to taste.

13 thoughts on “Pea & Lamb Soup

  1. WOW! We make yellow pea soup in Sweden, with pork (of course), but this looks to be a great variation. And with lamb, good idea! Now I have to try two new things: dutch pea soup and the updated version with lamb. :-D

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  2. Stefan – Your soups looks so luscious, creamy and rich. I love the texture of your soup! Actually, The Swedish Pop Band recently commented that I should have left my soup with a bit more texture. Also, the idea to use smoked lamb sausage, lamb shank and the lamb stock much make for a very robust, hearty and smoky-flavored dish. I love lamb shanks when slowly cooked – delectable. Also, the mint idea – so smart. I have often enjoyed lamb with mint jelly; mint provides a bright note that cuts through any heaviness in the meat. Plus, both lamb and mint are “sweet,” in their own, unique way. Abba came home for lunch, and finished the lamb soup together… this means that I will have to try your recipe soon! :-) I will probably double it, as I like to freeze great soups in small, serving-size tupperwares for our lunches during the week; portable and home-cooked soup is the best. I am sure your scrumptious lamb version of erwtensoep is long-gone, though. Thank you for teaming up with Curls and Carrots! Warmest wishes – Shanna

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  3. Hi Stefan, I love your interesting take on erwtensoep, I’ve bookmarked it to try. I bet my straight talking older neighbour, Jan, would look at me like I’m crazy if I were to offer him some, but he likes the traditional kind I make for him on occassion. Thanks for an interesting new take on a Dutch classic.
    PS, I haven’t had time to call your butcher yet, but I will do this weekend.

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  4. Oops, in my enthusiasm, I forgot that I actually was going to suggest that you could use merguez sausages instead of the smoked pork one. Whilst they aren’t spiced, per se, I’ve had a few that had a smoky chilli in them.

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  5. Great idea Stefan. I was looking at Shanna’s and commented that I would hate to be a judge if this were a competition. I know it’s not a competition (it never is) Picking a winner would be difficult.
    The flavour you extract from the shank could give you the edge….

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  6. Hello Stefan, what a beautiful soup! I especially love the inclusion of both the lamb shanks and the lamb sausages. I agree, this is a perfect soup for the winter months and I look forward to trying both yours and Shanna’s.

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts!
    Best,
    Allison

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  7. I never would have considered lamb as a soup component. I always associate lamb with roasting and an occasional stew but soup? Never. Foolish of me for your soup sounds wonderful, Stefan. Love seeing the pot of yesterday’s soup has solidified overnight in the refrigerator. I take it as a sign that I did something right when I made it — just like you did here. :)

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    • It does show that that enough of the gelatin and fat from the shank has dissolved into the soup, which gives it ‘body’.
      I had never thought of lamb in soup before either, I thought of it because I was thinking of a substitute for pork.

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