About this recipe:I've been making this for my family for over 30 years. Its been changed over the years and has evolved. This is a really tasty and filling dish that is cheap to make and the whole family will enjoy. Do try to include the ground cumin, it adds a depth of flavour that is subtle but brings out the taste of the other ingredients. This dish is great served with dumplings and it tastes great left until the next day and warmed through. Try substituting swede for the potatoes.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, warm a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook and stir for 4 to 6 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute then add the cumin and cook for a further minute until fragrant. Ensure that the onions don't brown by reducing the heat if necessary.
Add the mushrooms and cover the pan for 5 minutes allowing the mushrooms to sweat down (this will release the juice from the mushrooms which will add more flavour). Now add the potatoes, carrots, bay leaf, herbs and the pearl barley and spelt grains and give a good stir.
Next add the stock cube, tomato puree and sufficient boiling water to cover to about an inch above the ingredients in the pan (remember that the pearl barley and spelt will expand).
Allow this mixture to simmer for 30 minutes to allow the vegetables to soften. Add the chopped corned beef and the Worcestershire sauce, give a good stir through and leave to cook through for a further 10 to 15 minutes until everything is tender. Serve.
It looks like it is very complicated but it really is just a one pot meal. You can substitute fresh herbs just use a little more. Add the thyme at the beginning as it is a woody aromatic herb that does well with longer cooking, add the parsley and oregano towards the end of the cooking time if using fresh herbs.
If you want to add dumplings then do so after adding the corned beef and cook for a further 20 minutes.