“Original Thinking Is Lonely.” That’s what the message board on the Baptist church here in Truth or Consequences, NM, says. Hideous, no?
I really don’t think Robert Farrar Capon would approve. But he would love me!
Night IV of the lamb was all about original thinking, as in: Uh, wait, Tamara and Karl are here already? And we don’t have any barley? Or turnips? Oh well.
The base recipe is Lamb Soup with Barley, which he says is sort of like a Scotch broth. Never having made or tasted a Scotch broth (does it go with martinis to make a perfect diet?), I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not making it. Capon suggests a different option–a little chickpeas, some pasta, some garlic, some tomatoes…and then you’ve got something sort of resembling minestrone. Scotch-flavored minestrone.
Anyway, that’s the route I opted for. And then I saw we didn’t have any canned tomatoes in our larder/bathroom (it looks very survivalist in there, with all the canned goods stashed under the towels). So there was this tube of tomato paste that I squeezed in. And we didn’t have any chunky pasta, so I just broke up some fettucine. And we had some cabbage left over from the fried rice the night before, so I put some of that in. Voila-ish.
And you’d be surprised how much meat was still left on that leg of lamb. I’d been hacking very generously the previous three nights, and there was still substantial chunks floating around in every serving of soup.
I also whipped up a little parsley and garlic pesto/pistou to dab on top, and grated some random hard Greek cheese that was sitting in the back of the cheese drawer, and, hey, look, those bread ends have been sitting around since Night II–croutons!
So we ate the soup, and it was good and very, very filling. (It helped that Tamara had cooked up some artichokes beforehand, and I made a teensy-tinesy salad out of leftover radishes, mushrooms and scallions–I think we used everything in the vegetable bin that night, except for the Thai chilis.)
Everyone was tucking in enthusiastically, but I had a brief moment of lamb overload on my first bite. I pushed through.
To be clear, Capon doesn’t suggest you eat all this lamb four nights in a row. He envisions the soup as something you make and freeze for later–you serve it the same day “only in desperation.” Desperation like your friends are coming over, and you’ve only just changed out of your bathrobe, and there’s nothing else to eat–I can relate.
Although I did not at all hew closely to the last recipe, I do feel like I was working in the spirit of it. I respect Capon more than ever because he led me from rigorous browning and stewing and formal technique to random freeform soup that I pulled out of relative thin air. That’s original thinking, and if those Baptists don’t like it, well, I’ve got a book they need to read.
Previously in the series:
Live coverage: Lamb for Eight Persons Four Times
1L/8X4: The Prologue
1L/8X4: Prep for Night 1
1L/8X4 II(a): Night I Report
1L/8X4 II(b): The Freakin’ Spaetzle
1L/8X4 III: Night II Report
1L/8X4 IV: Night III Report