Ingredients

FOR THE SPICED LENTIL & OXTAIL SOUP
1½-2kg oxtail or use osso bucco or other bone-on beef cut
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2½ litres water or beef stock
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
½ cup green lentils
GREEN HARISSA
1 bunch coriander
½ bunch flat-leafed parsley
1 clove garlic
1-2 green chillies
2 spring onions, sliced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
zest and juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons olive oil
A scotch broth is my idea of true comfort food. The version I make is based on my mother’s. She always toasts and grinds cumin seeds and sprinkles them over the top just before serving. I think that is why cumin must be my most loved and possibly abused spice. Any vegetable can be used here although I admit there were no neeps around when we photographed this. I replaced the more common barley with green lentils and made a fresh green harissa to serve with the soup. I like to dollop a spoonful into each soup bowl – it breaks down quickly into the soup and turns the broth a vibrant green, adding a gentle heat.

Instructions

1.FOR THE SPICED LENTIL & OXTAIL SOUP
2.Remove any really fatty bits from the beef.
3.Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Brown the beef in batches, taking your time to ensure that the meat has a rich, dark colour (alternatively you could roast in a hot oven to brown and then deglaze with water or stock).
4.Drain off most of the fat, leaving around a tablespoon in the pan, then add the onion and cook until caramelised.
5.Add the cumin seeds and turmeric and cook for a minute before adding the salt and water or stock (it should cover the meat).
6.Bring to the boil, then gently simmer for three hours. Skim the impurities from the stock occasionally.
7.Remove the meat from the pot and when cool enough shred the meat from the bone and discard the bones. (At this point I often keep the meat and stock separately, refrigerating them both overnight. The next day I remove and discard the layer of fat on the stock.)
8.Return the meat to the pot with the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the carrots, parsnip, celery and turnip and cook for 30 minutes.
9.Add the leek, potatoes and lentils and cook for a further 30 minutes.
10.Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with the harissa and good bread.
11.GREEN HARISSA
12.Roughly chop the coriander and parsley, stems and leaves.
13.Put into a blender with the remaining ingredients and blitz with a couple of tablespoons of water to make a smooth paste.
14.Add extra olive oil or water if required and adjust salt to taste.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Ellen J Hemmings

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