Lamb & Bean Soup
I was so lucky as to find lamb leg bones at my grocery store last Sunday. Time to make lamb broth! This was my first time making it and I am delighted. The flavor is milder than beef, but richer than chicken or turkey. Hubby says it’s his new favorite. 😀 Right away I thought I should cook some white beans with it, and I was able to purchase flageolet beans. Flageolet (flah-zho-lay) are a small, light green bush bean that are very popular in France. They are often served simply, dressed with cream and tomatoes or a vinaigrette, but they are also a good choice for gamier meats, like lamb or hare. If you see these beans for sale in your market do not hesitate to buy them. If you’re unable to find any, feel free to substitute another small, white bean here.
Lamb & Bean Soup
1lb. flageolet beans, picked over and rinsed
3 qts. lamb broth*
1 bay leaf
2lbs. lamb sausage
1 (10oz.) package frozen, chopped spinach, left in fridge overnight to defrost
Salt & pepper
The night before, place beans in a large bowl and add water to cover by a few inches. Leave in a warm place overnight. Drain and rinse beans and place in a large stockpot. Add lamb broth and bay leaf, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, with lid partially covering pan, for about 40 minutes. Peel rutabagas and chop small, then add them to the pot. Simmer gently for another 30-40 minutes, until beans and rutabagas are tender.
If your sausages are fresh and raw, cook them whole in a skillet over medium heat until browned and no longer pink in the middle. Then remove them from the pan, slice lengthwise into quarters and chop them into ½” pieces. Return the chopped sausage to the skillet to finish browning. (If your sausages are pre-cooked then you can skip browning them whole and proceed to chopping and cooking.) Add the browned sausage to the soup. Spoon the thawed spinach into a colander and press the liquid out into the sink and then add to soup. Simmer soup for another 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste.
*If you’re unable to make lamb broth, substitute chicken, or perhaps a combination of chicken and beef.
**Rutabagas are a root vegetable with a sweet, nutty flavor. They’re called “swedes” in the UK. They are often sold next to turnips, but the two cook up differently so you don’t want to confuse them. Turnips are smaller and more rounded, with a bright white flesh and a purple top. Rutabagas tend to be larger, with a more elongated shape, and the flesh is yellow with a purple top. Turnips are a tender vegetable and cook similarly to potatoes, whereas rutabagas are a rather hard tuber that cook more like carrots. Both make a nice raw snack. See the picture below to tell the difference.
A special thanks to my friend, Annie Levy, for helping me develop this recipe. 🙂