One of the awesome things about having a farmers market stall is getting to know other stallholders and swapping produce. I especially love to get meat at the markets as you can buy it straight from the farmer and they can tell you exactly how it was raised.

At one market a few weeks back Anna Kelly from Plains Paddock had some especially lovely hogget meat going. Hogget, for those who don't know(I didn't) is a young sheep, a bit older than a lamb. I'd heard some good stuff about hogget, so I picked up a few shanks.

A freak late summer cold snap hit Melbourne that weekend, so I made this soup. Loosely based on the idea of North African Harira, it features lots of spices and pulses. I love a good pulse based soup and this one, with chickpeas, barley and lentils has plenty of textual variety. After a slow cook, the lamb falls apart, the grains swell us and you've got a thick, spicy mess of flavour. Adding yoghurt, herbs and lemon at the end freshens it up.

Lamb, chickpea and barley soup

2 tbs olive oil
3 shanks
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 carrots, diced
3 celery, diced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs Harissa
3-4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 can of chickpeas or 200g soaked, cooked
1/2 a cup of lentils, rinsed
Coriander, lemon and yoghurt, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a big pot. Add the shanks and brown all over, set shanks aside. Add onions and saute til softened. Add the garlic, carrot and celery and cook until soft. Stir the spices in and cook until fragrant, then add the tomato paste and Harissa. Stir and cook for around 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then add all of the pulses. Cover and cook around 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is falling apart. Spoon into bowls and serve with coriander, lemon and yoghurt.

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