My Smoked Lamb & Bean Soup came to be after a trip to my favourite shop here in Vegas. The giant International Marketplace, which sells ingredients from literally every corner of the World. It's a mammoth, warehouse-sized space sectioned by country, and it's quite literally the best place for a food lover to visit.
I never come out of that place without having spent in excess of $200 on mystery items, old favourites and hard to come by essentials like Aussie Vegemite!
On this visit, I happened upon an interesting smoked lamb in the cured meats section. The label said 'Product of Spain' on it so I unthinkingly popped it in my ever growing cart and pressed on to the next whim purchase.
A winter warming Spanish soup
Returning home, after a hunt through my cupboards I opted to use the lamb in a Spanish influenced soup - the weather here is growing colder by the day, so soups are my favourite thing this time of year. I just LOVE beans (and ate a LOT of beans in Spain when I visited) so knew that a smoky cured meat would pair very well. As It happened I had two lonely looking packets of dried beans in my cupboard that were at that awkward stage of not quite enough for a meal. So they finally found a home, combined.
The smoked lamb was much like a prosciutto but highly smoked, salty and with a richer, chewier texture. I knew it would impart all that smokiness into the soup - and I was right! It was smoky, creamy, and deliciously warming and filling - it kept me going all afternoon. When making mine I used the Instant Pot to cut down time, but the recipe gives both options. If it's cold where you are - you'll appreciate this!
How to make my Smoked Lamb & Bean Soup
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1 celery stick (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1/2 cup cured smoked lamb (thinly sliced) (you could also use another smoked cured meat, like smoked pork hock, bacon or pancetta.
- 1 cup borlotti beans (dried)
- 1 cup cannellini beans (dried)
- 2 bay leaves
- 500 ml chicken stock
- Salt & pepper
- Using the Instant Pot, or in a large pan - sauce the onion, celery and garlic for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add the lamb and fry for a further 5 minutes before adding the beans, bay leaves, chicken stock and 1 litre of water.
- Cook on high pressure for 60-70 minutes using the Instant Pot Simmer gently for 2-3 hours over a low heat for traditional pan.
- Continue until the beans are soft and creamy - this time can vary.
- Once done, remove half the beans and using a stick blender or food processor blend them into a thick puree. Return this to the pan and stir through to create a creamier texture to the soup. Serve with lots of crusty bread.
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