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Lamb & pearl barley stew & fresh herb gremolata



A substantial pot of stew fortified with pearl barley, this is really good with lots of gremolata sprinkled over the top. Irish stew is the classic one pot dish, the recipe for the delicious Ballymaloe version is in my Irish Traditional Cooking and Forgotten Skills books – a whole delicious comforting meal in one pot.


– 350g piece of green streaky bacon (blanched if salty)

– 1.8kg gigot or rack chops from the shoulder of lamb, not less than 2.5cm thick

– well-seasoned plain white flour, for dusting

– a little butter or extra virgin olive oil, for frying

– 700g whole, small onions – baby ones are nicest

– 350g carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

– 150g parsnips, peeled and thickly sliced

– 450g pearl barley

– approx. 2.8 litres lamb or chicken stock

– sprig of thyme

– 350g mushrooms, thinly sliced

– flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



– 4 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs – flat-leaf parsley, chervil and mint

– 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

– 1 generous teaspoon grated or finely chopped organic lemon zest

– flaky salt, to taste


Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4.

First make the stew. Cut the rind off the bacon and cut into approx. 1cm cubes. Divide the lamb into 8 pieces and roll in the well-seasoned flour.


Heat a little oil in a 25cm 3.2-litre casserole over a medium heat and saut. the bacon until crisp. Remove to a plate. Add the lamb to the casserole in batches and saut. until golden. Heat control is crucial here: the pan mustn’t burn, yet it must be hot enough to saut. the lamb. If the pan is too cool, the lamb will stew rather than saut. and as a result the meat may be tough. Remove the lamb to a plate. Add another splash of olive oil to the pan and saut. the onions, carrots and parsnips until golden. Add the bacon and lamb back to the casserole together with the pearl barley. Season well, pour in the stock, add the sprig of thyme and bring to simmering point on top of the stove. Cover the pan with a lid and transfer to the oven for 1–1®˘ hours until meltingly tender and the lamb is almost falling off the bones, the length of cooking time will depend on the age of the lamb how long the lamb was saut.ed for. Add the mushrooms about 30 minutes before the end.


Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Mix together the chopped herbs and garlic in a small bowl, add the lemon zest and season to taste with a little flaky salt. Once the casserole is cooked, remove the sprig of thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow the casserole to sit for 15–30 minutes before you bring it to the table to allow the pearl barley to swell. (If necessary, the casserole can be reheated later in the day, or the next day.) Serve bubbling hot, sprinkled with the gremolata.


This recipe is from One Pot Feeds All by Darina Allen


If you liked this recipe, why not check out this Roast Pork with Apple and Blackberries from Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna?