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A very little lamb



Goldie is a New York Therapy Animal who has volunteered at NYU Medical Center, Lenox Hill Hospital and various schools and universities around New York City. She has always had to looks her best and had regular spa days, aka visits to the groomer. She had a visit toward the end of February and then went to Brooklyn while I was at Rancho La Puerta. By the time I returned the pandemic was starting to rage and we all left New York City for the safety of Connecticut. We occasionally brushed her and even contemplated giving her a bath. I was intrigued by internet photos of dogs in tubs licking peanut butter from the wall as they were being washed down. Fortunately for all of us it occurred to me that there was no reason for groomers to be closed since no real human contact was required. The sad fact is that we did not give Goldie the attention she deserved or needed. Soon after I brought her to the groomer I received a call telling me that Goldie was too matted to be sufficiently brushed out and that she would need a very short haircut. I am sure some of us would appreciate any haircut at this point, but Goldie was really clipped. She now bears a passing similarity to a baby lamb or a very small sheared sheep.


Which brings me to the problem of the lamb shank. To be clear, lamb shank is usually a bone about 5 inches long with some meat on it. Generally, several are used at one time to make a delicious stew. On one of my shopping lists for a curbside pick up I asked for the shank half of a leg of lamb. I did not want a whole leg of lamb for the three of us and have always found the shank half, as opposed to the butt half, to be meatier and easier to carve. I guess I should not have been surprised to find a small, single lamb shank in the order, not half of a leg of lamb. I decided I would use it to enrich a split pea soup. I have generally use a ham bone for this but I remembered my mother using the boney remains of a leg of lamb. So, I did a quick high heat quick oven roast of the lamb shank ( 20 minutes at 400). I put it in a pot with a package of split peas, some whole celery stalk, an onion studded with clove so that it would not fall apart, carrots cut into 1inch thick rounds, and salt and pepper. I covered it with water (8 to 10 cups) and brought it to a boil. I skimmed the surface and then simmered it with the cover placed on it slightly askew. Occasionally I gave it a stir. It is done when the peas have turned to mush and mix easily into the liquid. The longer it cooks, the thicker the soup. I removed the celery and onion and give it a quick whirl with my hand blender, avoiding the meat and carrots. Of course, you can make a vegan version with no meat at all.

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