Here's one of our favorite 'cold day' soup recipes.
Lentil and Lamb Soup
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion -- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves -- minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups brown lentils -- rinsed and picked over (I used what I had: red and green)
14 1/2 ounces canned chop tomatoes with juice
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
Freshly ground black pepper -- (optional)
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the lamb with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Brown the lamb, a few pieces at a time, transferring the browned meat to the insert of a 5 to 7-quart slow cooker.
When all the lamb has been browned, add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the skillet, and cook for 3 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the lentils, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. The lamb will be tender.
Skim any excess fat from the surface of the soup and add the parsley.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and some black pepper, if you like, before serving.
Serves 6 to 8