I'd seen lots of Irish stew recipes here and there but most of them failed to grab my attention and that's probably because I'm not a big fan of lamb..Admittedly,I chose this recipe for my debut Irish stew because of nothing but 'pearl barley'called for in the recipe !
In fact, I knew nothing about pearl barley when I saw the word in the recipe and I would have ignored this stew unless I came accross a pack of pearl barley on a shelf in one supermarket..Once I spotted it, this stew immediately came through my mind and that's when I decided to make the dish a try!
The recipe is from BBC Goodfoood magazine (March issue)..simple, yet delicious !! Anyway, I made only half recipe but I added some extra barley in the stew, therefore I also increased volume of stock to deal with the barley which didn't seem adequate cuz my stew was drier than it's supposed to be.However,the taste was fabulous and no doubt that I truly fell for the barley !
Ingredient: (serves 6)
900 g stewing lamb, large chunks
200 g smoked streaky bacon, cut into chunks
1 tbsp sunflower oil
5 medium onions ,sliced
5 carrots , sliced into chunks
6 medium potatoes , cut into chunks
850 ml lamb stock
3 spring onion,finely sliced
3 bay leaves
small bunch thyme
100 g pearl barley
small knob of butter
1. Heat oven to 160c/fan 140c/gas3. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Sizzle the bacon unitl crisp. Turn up the heat, then cook the lamb for 6 mins until brown. Remove the meats. Add the onions, carrots and herbs to the pan, then cook for about 5 mins until softened. Return the meat to the pan, stir in the barley, pour over the stock, then bring to a simmer.
2. Sit the chunks of potato on top of the stew,cover, then braise in the oven, undisturbed, for about 1.5 hours until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. remove from the oven, dot the potatoes with butter, scatter with spring onions and serve.