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Summertime lamb soup

Words to describe lamb: warm, comforting, nourishing. Delicious in stew. Everything you’d want on a cold winter’s day.

Happy summer. Spring lamb is at its best right now, in the middle of this unseasonably pleasant summer.

Whacking it onto the barbeque is one option, but I still had a lot of meat leftover from Aldi’s leg joint. So, how to ensure that nothing gets wasted and, above all, keep it light?

I started off with some sandwiches. The classic lamb and bread duo also involves a dollop of creme fraiche, chopped tarragon, mint sauce, and spring onion. I didn’t have creme fraiche or tarragon and so mixed a squeeze of lemon juice with some natural  yoghurt, a sprinkle of chives, and some mint sauce. Delicious leftover lamb sandwich.

Not a huge amount of meat left on that bone. But enough. Soup or a stew was the only way to go – but how to keep it light? Lamb and barley was too heavy, while Moroccan or spicy soup didn’t quite appeal to me. So I tried this combination, keeping the emphasis on broth rather than soup. It’s perfect for a rainy summer day, after a walk, or on a pleasant summer evening.

To turn it into a more substantial meal, serve with baby boiled potatoes in the soup instead of bread on the side. Or both.


  • Half leg of lamb bone, with some meat attached
  • Mirepoix: 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 leek, 1 stick of celery
  • 1 half teaspoon of roasted fennel seeds
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme or a half teaspoon dried thyme
  • Fresh mint
  • Lemon
  • Salt and pepper


  • First make the stock. Cover the lamb bone with water in a large pot, along with a stick of celery, a carrot, and a peeled onion chopped in two.
  • Bring to the boil with the lid partially on, immediately reduce to a simmer, and cook on a low heat for 2-3 hours – or, if you have time, forever.*  You need to keep the meat, which by now will have fallen from the bones.
  • Meanwhile, dry fry the fennel seeds until until they begin to turn brown, about two minutes. If using dried thyme, you should also add this to the pan, for about a minute.
  • Sweat the leek and onion in butter or oil for three minutes. Add the celery and carrots and sweat for a further five minutes, with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the stock to the mixture, tossing in the fennel and thyme mix. Add some salt. Simmer for about half an hour.
  • Pour into the bowls. Add a gentle squeeze – less than half a teaspoon – of lemon juice and top with fresh chopped mint. Season to taste.

*For a pure stock, discard the bones and vegetables by sieving the mixture; it will keep in the freezer for two months.


  1. i dont understand the sweating step, is it with the same carrot (s), celery and onion as boiled in the stock and are they chopped

  2. Sweating vegetables seals in the flavours that will otherwise be lost in the soup. Same chopped veg that are then added to the soup.