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Fragrant lamb broth
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with Roopa Gulati
1kg lamb shoulder on the bone, or 3 lamb shanks
3 medium onions, diced
1 bulb fennel, diced
50g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 green cardamom pods
2 blades of mace
2 x 4cm cinnamon sticks
¾ tsp coarsely ground black peppercorns
15g dried porcini mushrooms
150g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp freshly ground cumin
For the dumplings
50g self-raising flour
50g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g shredded beef suet
5 salad onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 green chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 British Blacktail Medium Free Range Egg, lightly beaten
1. Put the lamb in a very large saucepan and cover generously with about 3 litres of cold water. Bring the water to a boil over a medium heat, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Skim and discard any impurities from the surface with a slotted spoon.
2. Add the onions, fennel, ginger and garlic to the pan, with the cardamom, cloves, mace, cinnamon and black pepper. Simmer, uncovered for about 2 hours, until the lamb is tender, and the stock has reduced by one-third.
3. Meanwhile, soak the porcini mushrooms in enough boiling water to cover and leave to one side for at least an hour. Mix the sliced chestnut mushrooms with the lemon juice and ground cumin and leave them to one side too.
4. Once the lamb is tender and almost falling off the bone, lift the pieces onto a plate. When cool enough to handle, strip the meat off the bones and roughly chop into bitesized pieces. Return the meat to the pan, discarding any bones.
5. For the dumplings, sieve the flour into a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs and suet. Add the salad onions, coriander and green chilli and enough egg to bind it into a firm dough. With damp hands, divide the mixture into about 30 marble-sized dumplings.
6. Drain and finely chop the soaked porcini, reserving its soaking liquid. Add these to the bubbling stock, followed by the lamb and dumplings. Continue cooking, uncovered, for a further 10-15 minutes until the dumplings are puffed.
7. Just before serving, add the steeped chestnut mushrooms and any spiced lemony juices to the broth. Lift the dumplings into deep soup bowls and ladle over the meaty broth. I leave the whole spices in the soup and push them to one side – life’s too short to scoop them out.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in February 2020.