Last night I shattered poor Mary’s heart when I turned her little lamb’s leg into soup stock.
That was probably a bit morbid and overly dramatic. I apologize to those of you who choose not to eat meat for political reasons. But damn, that lamb was tasty.
When I buy something like a lamb leg, I do my absolute best not to waste any bit of it. It’s pretty expensive, first off, and it’s delicious too, so why would I want to waste any? Usually I buy a leg when it’s on sale and then cut the meat into 8-oz portions and stick them in the freezer. The first time I did this, I knew I didn’t want to just throw away the bone. I mean, that’s a big bone! And it’s FULL of flavor. So I looked up a few recipes for some inspiration and made my very first batch of homemade stock that night.
I used that first batch of lamb stock to make Italian Chicken Noodle Soup. Wow, was it good! The second time I made lamb stock (this is only the third time I’ve bought a leg of lamb. I make it last.) I used it to make a Lamb Kale and White Bean Soup. I’ll be sharing the recipe for that later this month. You absolutely must try it. It’s divine.
In case you haven’t tasted lamb before, here’s a lame attempt at describing the flavor: It’s meaty, but almost sweet in a nutty kind of way. It’s rich and tastes slightly creamy when it’s cooked properly. Jess says it’s a sensual meat; the “lavender” of meat. It’s a flavor that works perfectly with certain spices like mint, cumin and masala or rosemary and garlic, but you can’t just throw it in a pan and expect it to cook up like a steak with some rub. Well, maybe you can, but I haven’t done that. It seems disrespectful. I always have a plan for my lamb and now you will too!
Homemade Lamb Stock
Yield: about 4 quarts
PointsPlus for whole Yield: 1
- Lamb leg bone
- 1 potato, cut in fourths
- 3 celery stalks, cut in fourths
- 1 onion, cut in fourths
- 2 large carrots, cut in fourths
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp whole dried thai chilis (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 quarts water
1. Put all ingredients into a stock pot, bring to a boil for 3 minutes and then turn down to low for about 4 hours. Or you could just put it all in a crockpot and put it on low for 6-8 hours.
2. Once it’s done cooking, throw away (or somehow use) all the solid ingredients and strain the stock into a container until you are ready to use. It can be refrigerated or frozen.
This can be applied to any bone, really. If you have a roaster chicken that you haven’t cooked yet, you can use the bones in this rather than the lamb. You can do the same with some beef bones too. I wouldn’t use this recipe for fish stock, though. I haven’t made that yet, so I can’t attest to this being the proper procedure and/or flavors.
Have you ever made your own stock? How did you do it?