Lamb and Rice Soup (and Other Life Hacks)

Have you ever gone swimming with a cell phone in your pocket? This tragedy may seem like the end of the line for your favorite electronic device, but it doesn’t have to be. A lot of DIY geeks swear that if a phone gets flooded you can save it. You gotta act fast, but if you immediately pull the battery out and plunge all the parts into a bag of rice you might get lucky. I don’t know if this life hack really works (and I don’t want to find out) but the amazing absorption properties of rice is just the kind of thing I was thinking about when I was making today’s Lamb and Rice Soup.

You see this Lamb and Rice Soup starts with a flavorful broth that takes hours of monitoring to ensure deep flavor. So the cook has plenty of time to contemplate all sorts of subjects. While making this broth I got to thinking about the rice I planned to cook in it. The thing I love most about rice is how much it loves a flavorful broth. It literally soaks it up. This liquid affinity may be because rice is grown in flooded fields known as paddies. Or maybe it’s the fact that rice, like most grains, is dried before it’s used in cooking. Whatever the reason, by the time rice gets to the pot it’s ready to soak up whatever broths, juices, or gravy you splash its way.

Lamb and Rice Soup with Chile Peppers and Lemon Wedges

Lamb and Rice Soup

Lamb and Arborio rice, simmered in a garlicky broth, add enough body to this simple soup to make it feel like a satisfying meal. It’s seasoned with bay leaves and served with as many sliced chiles as you like. The finishing touch is lots of lemon juice and a touch of olive oil. Arborio rice is typically used in making risotto because it’s particularly good at absorbing flavor. It’s that same quality that makes it a great choice in this soup. The grain absorbs lots of flavors yet maintains its shape. It becomes meltingly tender on the outside with a firm bite on the inside. GREG

Lamb and Rice Soup with Chile Peppers and Lemon Wedges

Lamb and Rice Soup with Chile Peppers and Lemon Wedges 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6Source Adapted from Martha Stewart LivingPublished

Don’t add the broth to the rice until right before serving. It will soak it all up even after it’s cooked.

Lamb and Rice Soup with Chile Peppers and Lemon Wedges


  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 3 carrots (broken into 3‑inch pieces)
  • 2 yellow onions (peeled and quartered)
  • 2 stalks celery (broken into 3‑inch pieces)
  • 10–12 clove garlic (peeled and lightly smashed)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 quart (plus 3/4 cups) water (divided)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (as seasoning, to taste)
  • 3–4 Thai bird chile peppers (or to taste, sliced)
  • 1–2 lemons (sliced into wedges)
  • extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)


Make the broth the day before: Place lamb shanks, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves into a large stock pot. Pour in 5 quarts of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a barely bubbling at the edges of the pot, very low simmer, skimming foam and fat often, for 2 ½ hours.

Transfer the lamb to a plate to cool completely. Remove the lamb meat from the bones, and shred onto a separate plate. Discard bones. Cover and refrigerate lamb overnight.

Strain the lamb broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean stock pot with a lid; discard solids. Cover and refrigerate broth overnight.

The next day: Peel off the coagulated fat from the surface of the broth. Gently reheat the broth and remove from heat.

To assemble the soup: Bring 1 cups of the warm broth, remaining 3/4 cups water, and rice to a simmer in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to very low, and gently simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender about 15 minutes.

Place a big spoonful of rice onto the bottoms warm soup bowls. You might not need all the rice depending on how soupy you like it.

Meanwhile, bring remaining broth to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Add shredded lamb, and cook until heated through. Top each bowl of rice with some of the lamb and broth. Top with a few chile slices, a big squeeze of lemon to taste (you want it nice and lemony), and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately with additional lemon slices on the side.