I attempted to make French cuisine last night. I’m not even sure if I was remotely close to getting the recipes correct…but I guess that’s the beauty of trying a brand new recipe! When my husband and I got married, my grandmother gave us two of her French-themed cookbooks, one of which was “The Soups of France.” Oddly enough, the only recipe in the book that was earmarked was “Good Housewife’s Soup”- a leek and potato soup. Thanks grandma, I got the hint! The Good Housewife’s Soup looked pretty dull so I opted for something with a little more action going on, the “Lamb, Tomato and Chickpea Soup,” or the Soupe de Mouton Senderens to sound a little more fancy!
I had to adapt the recipe just a smidge to make up for some missing ingredients in my kitchen, but overall, not much changed from the original. Ok, here we go!
Cube up some good ole’ American lamb. I bought lamb shoulder chops because the market was out of stew meat. Start with 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of lamb stew meat. Use your large soup pot to brown the lamb.
Get the pot nice and hot and add the lamb pieces, the key to good browning is not to overcrowd the meat! Brown the lamb a little at a time, setting a side the finished pieces until later.
Ahh, look at that nicely browned lamb! Now add all the browned lamb back into the pot. Pour a little chicken broth into the pot and simmer until all those lovely brown bits of flavor come lose from the bottom of the pot. Then pour the rest of your chicken broth into the pot (2 cups total). Add your 12 cups of water, 1 cup of canned great northern beans and 1 can (15 ounces) of chickpeas. Put a lid on it and let boil for1 hour.
While your lamb and beans are boiling, you can begin to work on the vegetables. It’s early September here in Pennsylvania and tomatoes are basically overwhelming every gardener at this point. We were graciously given a hefty amount several weeks ago and we’ve been working away at them ever since then. I used 5 medium tomatoes and peeled them (submerge in boiling water for 30 seconds, remove, and submerge in cold water until the skins loosen.) Once my tomatoes were peeled I worked away at dicing one large onion.
In a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Add your diced onion. Soften but do not brown. Remove from skillet and do the same with 1 cup of diced red and green peppers (I used frozen peppers). When the peppers are softened, add the onion back in along with the 5 peeled tomatoes and 3 teaspoons of fresh garlic. Smash the tomatoes gently with a potato masher until they are broken down. Let this medley of vegetables simmer until the majority of the liquid from the tomatoes is evaporated away.
Once the vegetables are ready, add this mixture into your pot of lamb and beans. Reduce the heat to medium high and let simmer for 30 more minutes.
Add your herbs at this point. 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, 3 bay leaves, and 3 Tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley.
Also add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper.
When you have about 5 more minutes to go on the soup, add in 1 diced zucchini to the pot.
Remove the bay leaves, taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Voila! Soupe de Mouton Senderens!
Set the table like you mean it! Turn on a little French music (thank you iTunes!) and you’re ready to roll!
Lamb, Tomato and Chickpea Soup Recipe
- 1 cup great northern beans (canned)
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas
- 1 – 1 1/2 lamb stew meat
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
- 12 cups water
- 5 medium tomatoes, peeled, smashed
- 1 cup diced red/green bell peppers
- 1 large onion
- 1 medium diced zucchini
- 3 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Serve with baguette!