It was windy and rainy for much of our trip (which I didn't mind, because it made the scenery that much more dramatic) and we indulged in plenty of hot, soul warming soups, like this Icelandic lamb soup, a regional speciality. We enjoyed ours on a raw, rainy day at the cafeteria at Gulfoss Waterfall. No wonder it's a popular dish - the free range, grass fed Icelandic lamb is the best I have ever had. Lucky me: I can get Icelandic lamb at Whole Foods.
And so, my first order of business on returning was making a huge batch of the stuff. It's quite a simple dish, and it's best on the second or third day, so make it ahead. And to go with it, it's essential to have plenty of dark rye or pumpernickel bread slathered in butter - preferably Smjorr - for dipping in the broth.
Icelandic Lamb Soup
2 pounds Icelandic lamb shank, on or off the bone (If off the bone, cut into 1 inch chunks)
8 -10 Icelandic lamb neck bones (about 2 inches)
5- 6 carrots, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
4 - 5 yellow potatoes, cubed
1 large rutabega (aka Swede), cubed
Arctic herbs, such as wild thyme and Anjelica root, to taste (I used an Arctic herb salt that I purchased in Reykjavik)
1 bunch curly parsley, plus extra for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
Normally I like to sear the meats and build flavors in my soups, but I thought I'd go the traditional route for my first go-round. And after sitting in the refrigerator over night, the flavors had really developed quite nicely.
In a large stock pot, just cover the lamb with water. Simmer for a few minutes and pour off the water. Place everything in the pot, cover with water with an extra couple of inches and simmer, covered, for an hour. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Remove the parsley, and refrigerate overnight. You will likely need to add more salt after re-heating.
A glance at the ingredients list might lead you to believe that this is a bland soup, but once it's come together overnight it has a subtle rich lamb-iness that's just the thing for a cold winter's night.