Lamb, butternut and barley stew

    2 hours

    Like Irish stew and Lancashire hotpot, this hearty dish is made with good-quality lamb, plus lots of vegetables, pearl barley, and bay leaves and thyme for flavouring. It is simple to make, and comes out of the oven smelling and tasting absolutely wonderful. Serve with purple sprouting broccoli or curly kale and baked potatoes.

    37 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 lamb chops, about 450 g (1 lb) in total, trimmed of fat
    • 2 onions, quartered lengthways
    • 2 large leeks, about 400 g (14 oz) in total, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) pieces
    • 1 butternut squash, about 600 g (1 lb 5 oz), peeled, seeded and cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) chunks
    • 2 turnips, about 200 g (7 oz) in total, quartered lengthways
    • 100 g (3½ oz) pearl barley
    • 900 ml (1½ pints) hot lamb stock, preferably home-made
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley to garnish

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr30min  ›  Ready in:2hr 

    1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F, gas mark 3). Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, add the chops and brown them on both sides. Remove the chops and set aside.
    2. Add the onion wedges and fry for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Stir in the leeks, squash and turnips. Cover and sweat gently for 5 minutes.
    3. Sprinkle in the pearl barley and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then pour in the hot stock. Tuck the chops in with the vegetables, and add the bay leaves, thyme and seasoning to taste. Bring to the boil, then cover the casserole. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender.
    4. Remove the casserole from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, to allow the barley to soak up more of the stock. Taste the stew for seasoning and serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.

    Some more ideas

    For extra piquancy, add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce or a couple of crushed garlic cloves with the herbs in step 3. * Try diced carrots, swede or potatoes instead of the butternut squash and turnips. * Make the stew into a hearty soup. Brown 340 g (12 oz) trimmed and diced boneless lean leg of lamb in the oil. Remove from the pan. Add 2 chopped onions, 2 chopped leeks, 400 g (14 oz) diced swede and 200 g (7 oz) diced carrot. Sweat for 5 minutes, then stir in the pearl barley, 1.3 litres (2 1/4 pints) hot lamb or vegetable stock, 2 bay leaves and 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Season, then cook in the oven for 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender.

    Plus points

    Pearl barley is low in fat and rich in starchy carbohydrate, and according to folklore it is a good food for potency and vigour. Roman gladiators ate barley to build up their strength, similar to the way today's athletes eat pasta the night before they compete. * Butternut squash is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is essential for good night vision. Butternut squash is also a good source of vitamin C and a useful source of vitamin E. All of these vitamins act as antioxidants, fighting against some cancers and preventing heart disease.

    Each serving provides

    A, B1, B6, B12, C, E, folate, niacin, zinc * iron, magnesium, potassium * B2, calcium

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    Reviews in English (4)


    Something else. Chucked it all in slow cooker before work and - mmmmm - delicious later with crusty bread from breadmaker!  -  22 Feb 2011


    Very nice and flavoursome. I cooked it in the slow cooker - will cook it again.  -  28 Sep 2009


    Great dish! I followed the recipe, only substituting chicken stock for the lamb stock, and adding a beef bouillon cube for added flavor. It was wonderful on a cold January evening. I will definitely make this again.  -  19 Jan 2016