Roasted ras-el-hanout pumpkin soup with barley and leftover lamb

Spiced pumpkin soup topped with barley, labne and leftover lamb.
Spiced pumpkin soup topped with barley, labne and leftover lamb. Photo: Katrina Meynink

This is how you use the random bits of your leftover lamb roast. I wouldn't encourage you to cook lamb specifically for this, although you certainly can and it makes this gloriously rich and amazingly indulgent. Rather than slow-cooked, you could pan-fry very thin slices of lamb backstrap and it would be just as wonderful. For a vegetarian option, omit the lamb entirely.


1.5kg pumpkin, cut into large chunks, seeds removed

2 brown onions, quartered

2 tbsp olive oil

1½ tbsp ras-el-hanout

400g can chopped tomatoes

750ml (3 cups) chicken stock (plus more to cook the barley)

To serve

½ cup black barley*

2 cups shredded cooked lamb

½ cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

8 labne balls


1. Preheat oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional). Line a large flat roasting tray with baking paper. Add the pumpkin pieces and the onion. Pour over the olive oil and the ras-el-hanout. Using your hands, turn the pumpkin and onion pieces to coat them in the oil and spice mixture. Cook for 30-45 minutes until the pumpkin is golden and cooked through.

2. Scoop the pumpkin flesh, onion and any cooking juices into a large saucepan. Add the tinned tomatoes and chicken stock and stir to combine. Place over low heat and simmer for 45 minutes or up to 1 hour, with the lid on to avoid too much evaporation.

3. While the soup is simmering, add the barley to a saucepan and cover with 250ml-375ml (1-1½ cups) water or chicken stock (if using) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until the grains are tender. Strain and add to a bowl with the shredded lamb and coriander leaves. Season generously with salt and pepper.

4. Give the soup a quick blitz straight in the pot or transfer to a blender.

5. Pour the soup into serving bowls, scoop over some of the lamb and barley mixture and break over a few balls of labne (you want about 1 tbsp per serve). Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

*If you can't find black barley (I find the supermarkets to be a bit hit and miss with this), substitute with other barley or even some burghul cooked according to packet instructions would do the trick.