It may be almost spring, but there's still a chill in the air up here in the North. There have been no double digit temps here like they have been enjoying in the south, although it has been sunny. Not quite barbeque weather . . . but close. I'm still hankering for comfort food . . . something to take the chill out . . . we won't be able to enjoy these dishes for much longer . . .
It will soon be time to put these recipes away, like our woolie socks and mufflers . . . Spring is definitely in the air, and will soon be here to stay . . . but not just yet.
I love this simple lamb stew with it's simple ingredients . . . wholesome barley, deliciously tender lamb, leeks, earthy root vegetables . . .
Warming . . . comforting . . . wholesome and homey . . . yes, tis a bit old fashioned, but I'm an old fashioned girl at heart.
A delicious stew that bubbles away on the back of the stove all afternoon, tantalizing you with it's fragrance, and tasting better and better as the
minutes slowly tick by . . .
A tasty and simple stew that screams "home sweet home" from that very first deliciously moreish mouthful. .
I believe this is the cadillac of all stews. Thick . . . rich . . . and just stogged full of tasty pearl barley, winter root vegetables, tender lamb and aromatic herbs . . .
*A Simple Stew of Lamb*
Simple, tasty, hearty and filling. Comfort food at it's very best.
A knob of butter
100g pearl barley (a generous half cup)
1 large onion, peel and chop
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 leeks, the white and light green part only, cleaned well and sliced
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 of a medium swede, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
400g of diced lamb (about 1 pound)
(I use leg of lamb)
a few spring of thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and black pepper to taste
lamb stock to cover
a small bunch of parsley, chopped
Place the barley into a pot of unsalted water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 25 minutes. Drain well and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/325*F.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the lamb and brown slowly on all sides. When browned, add all of the chopped vegetables, stir to coat and then let sweat over medium low heat for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place all the lamb and vegetables in a deep casserole dish. (make sure it is a dish that has a lid) Stir in the barley and all a spring of thyme and the bayleaves. Pour stock over to completely cover with about a half inch over. Cut a round of greaseproof paper large enough to cover. Cut a hole in the centre of it. (This is called a cartouche) Place on top of the stew and then cover with the lid of the casserole dish.
Place into the oven and bake slowly, without touching, for about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and take off the lid. Stir in the chopped parsley, adjust seasoning and serve. If you find most of the liquid has evaporated, you may add some hot lamb stock to thin.
You just know that the leftovers are going to taste even better after having sat in the fridge overnight . . . and you are not disappointed. They do.