Smoky Eggplants & Lamb Neck Soup with Berlotti Beans



2kg lamb necks

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 sticks celery, roughly chopped

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

1 medium bulb fennel, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp. fennel seeds

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper



2 eggplants

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. cumin seeds

4 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped

½ onion, finely diced

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely chopped

1 cup borlotti beans, pre-cooked

2 big handfuls baby spinach

1 bunch parsley leaves, chopped

1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped

2 tbsp. dill, chopped

squeeze lemon juice


Combine all stock ingredients in a stockpot or large heavy-based saucepan. Cover with stock or cold water and bring to the boil slowly. When the stock boils, lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered for 2 hours, skimming frequently. By the end of the cooking time the meat should be very tender and falling away from the bones. Leave to cool, strain, chop the meat roughly and set aside.

Prick the eggplants all over with a fork then sit them directly on the flame of your stove burner, set the flame to low-medium heat and cook for 10 minutes, turning frequently until the eggplant are blackened and blistered and have collapsed. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then peel away the skin from the flesh, chop the flesh roughly and set aside.

In a large heavy based saucepan heat the oil, add the vegetables, spices, salt and pepper and sauté over a gentle heat. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes, then add the chopped eggplant, lamb neck, beans and strained stock. Bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add spinach, herbs and a squeeze of lemon.