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Lamb & Bean Soup Recipe

Pulling shreds of tender lamb from the shank after taking the time to slow-cook is always rewarding, and the end result of this gently cooked Lamb & Bean Soup is no exception. The process of chargrilling the capsicum adds complexity to the flavours of the broth, enhancing a classic Italian base of red wine and tomato. The cannellini beans contribute a delightful texture to the soup, as well as bolstering the broth with protein, iron, antioxidants and fibre. Skimming the fat from the shanks as they boil makes this a meal both nourishing and lean.

Although this soup requires a little extra cooking time, preparation is simple and easy. Colours of red, white and green form a rustic base for lamb which will fall from the bone – well worth the cooking time.
Tip: If you’re looking to cut down on preparation time, replace dried cannellini beans with thoroughly rinsed tinned ones.  

Preparation Time: 35 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours & 20 minutes
Servings: 4


200 g dry cannellini beans 2 red capsicums
1 tbsp olive oil 1.5 kg lamb shanks, trimmed
1 brown onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, coarsely sliced
2 carrots, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste 1 cup red wine
12 cups water 80 g baby spinach leaves

  1. Soak beans in water overnight, drain beans then rinse under cold water then drain them again completely.
  2. Cut capsicums into quarters and de-seed them, then roast in a very hot oven or under a grill till skin blisters and blackens.
  3. Put capsicum pieces in a plastic bag for 5 minutes then peel the skin off and chop finely.
  4. Heat oil in a large saucepan or wok and brown lamb shanks in batches then add the onion and garlic to same pan, stirring till the onion is softened. Add carrot and celery to the onion; Stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste and red wine to the vegetable mix and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer on low heat with lid off for 5 minutes.
  6. Return shanks to the pan with the water and bring to a boil.
  7. Simmer on low heat with lid off for 2 hours, skimming fat from surface.
  8. Add the beans to a saucepan of boiling water; simmer on low heat with the lid off for about half an hour then drain.
  9. Remove the shanks from pan and strain broth through a sieve or colander into a large heatproof bowl. When lamb is good to handle, remove meat from shanks and shred coarsely.
  10. Return the broth to pot with capsicum, beans and shanks; bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat with lids off for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in spinach.

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