Lamb and Spring Vegetable Broth

If you can get lambs’ tongues and a pair of sweetbreads, blanch and poach them, and then peel and dice, and add to the soup for the last few minutes. Otherwise, make the soup with vegetables and lamb.

The recipe is based on the one we were served at Kokejane in Belgium, cooked by Solange de Brouwer. The stock is best made the day before, so that it can be de-greased by chilling and removing the layer of fat.


  • 2 lb / 900 g middle or scrag end of lamb, chopped
  • 1 leek
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small turnip
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sprig of thyme or lemon thyme
  • 6 peppercorns
  • piece of lemon zest
  • 4–5 pt / 2.30–2.85 l water
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Remove as much fat as possible from the meat, and brown the pieces in a large heavy saucepan. Clean and trim or peel the vegetables, and add some of the peelings to the pan, together with the bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and lemon zest. Pour on the water. Bring to the boil, skim the surface, and simmer on the lowest heat, partially covered, for 3–4 hours.

Meanwhile, finely dice the vegetables. Strain the stock, cool, and then chill it, and remove the layer of fat which will have congealed on the surface. Put the stock back in a saucepan with the diced vegetables, and cook until the vegetables are just tender, adding the tongue and sweetbreads, if using, or a little diced cooked lamb. Season to taste.