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Lamb and Lentils in a Tomato and Cumin Broth

2 Onions; peeled and chopped
1 Clove garlic; peeled and crushed
1 tb Light oil or butter; up to 2
2 ts Curry powder
1 ts Ground cumin
4 Lamb shanks; (ask butcher to remove large knuckle and to saw the shanks into halves)
2 lg Carrots; peeled and diced
1 lg Parsnip; peeled and diced
2 Sticks celery; chopped
A small piece bay leaf
1 Cinnamon stick
2 1/2 l Water; (10 cups)
1 c Brown lentils
1 425 g can peeled tomatoes

Put onions, garlic and oil or butter into a big saucepan and cook over a very low heat for five minutes or so or until soft and glossy. Add the curry powder and cumin and cook for a minute or so longer. Push to one side of the pot then add the lamb shanks and let them brown lightly. Add the diced vegetables, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and water, plus 1/2 level teaspoon salt (or more to taste). Cover loosely and simmer for one hour. Add lentils, canned tomatoes (including all the juice from the can) and continue to cook until lentils are soft but not broken, about 45 minutes. Add an extra cup or two of water if you think it is necessary. Remove shanks and chop meat, then return meat to the broth. Season with a generous quantity of freshly milled black pepper. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf.

Serve this hearty soup in big shallow soup dishes and scatter over plenty of chopped fresh parsley.

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