Lamb and barley soup

Lamb and barley soup


8 people made this

About this recipe: Full of tender lamb cubes, deliciously nutty pearl barley and chunky vegetables, this substantial soup is really a meal in a bowl. Savoury herb-scented scones are served alongside.

Norma MacMillan

Serves: 4 

  • For the soup
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 340 g (12 oz) lean boneless lamb, cut into 2 cm (¾ in) dice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
  • 250g (8½ oz) turnip or swede, cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
  • 100 g (3½ oz) pearl barley
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) lamb or chicken stock
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 100 g (3½ oz) frozen peas
  • salt and pepper
  • For the herb scones
  • 225 g (8 oz) plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk

Prep:20min  ›  Cook:1hr15min  ›  Ready in:1hr35min 

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the lamb over a high heat for about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Use a draining spoon to transfer the lamb to a plate. Add the onion, carrots and turnip (or swede) to the oil remaining in the pan. Stir well and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the vegetables are starting to soften.
  2. Return the lamb to the saucepan and stir in the pearl barley, stock, rosemary and thyme with seasoning to taste. Heat until simmering, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer gently for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the scones. Preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF, gas mark 8) and grease a baking tray. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. With your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the parsley, chives and rosemary, then make a well in the middle and pour in all but about 1 tbsp of the milk. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the milk to make a fairly soft dough.
  4. Turn the scone dough out onto a well-floured surface. Dust your hands with a little flour, then lightly pat and knead the dough into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough and roll it out into a round about 2.5 cm (1 in) thick and 13 cm (5 1/2 in) across.
  5. Place the dough round on the baking tray and use a large sharp knife to cut it into 8 wedges, leaving them in place. Wipe the knife with a damp cloth between cuts to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Brush with the reserved milk and bake immediately for 10–15 minutes or until well risen and deep golden brown on top. Slide the scone round onto a wire rack to cool.
  6. Add the peas to the soup and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, then ladle the soup into large bowls and serve with the scones. If you like, wrap the scone round loosely in a folded napkin or clean tea-towel and take it to the table on a large flat basket or board. Break it into wedges to serve.

Some more ideas

For a lamb and split pea soup, replace the pearl barley with 55 g (2 oz) split yellow peas. Instead of the onion and turnips, use 3 sliced leeks and 250 g (8½ oz) diced celeriac. * Rather than scones you can cook small dumplings in the soup. To make them, mix 85 g (3 oz) self-raising flour with 30 g (1 oz) vegetable suet, 1 tbsp chopped parsley and 1 tbsp snipped fresh chives. Bind together into a dough with 4 tbsp cold water and roll into a sausage shape on a floured surface. Cut into 8 equal portions and roll each into a ball. Add to the simmering soup with the peas in step 7.

Plus points

Pearl barley contains traces of gluten and is therefore unsuitable for anyone following a gluten-free diet, but it is useful for those on wheat-free diets. Although highly refined, weight for weight pearl barley provides more fibre than brown rice. * Unlike the majority of vegetables, which are most nutritious when eaten raw, carrots are a better source of beta-carotene when they are cooked.

Each serving provides

A * B1, B2, B6, B12, iron * C, calcium

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Reviews (1)


I just made the soup - very filling & delicious. Will try making it with the scones another time! - 10 Mar 2014

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