Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 19 Nov 2010

Last weekend I had the pleasure of having Nicole visiting for a couple of nights. Eric and Chrissy came over a couple of times to hang out.

On Saturday I made dinner for the four of us. I wanted something comfort food-y so I made us this lamb and barley stew. The recipe is my own.


  • 2 lamb necks
  • 4oz salt pork
  • 2lb lamb shoulder chop, boned and cut into 1″ chunks (large pieces of fat removed)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • several cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl tomato paste
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • salt to taste
  • chopped fresh marjoram

You’ll need a 5.5-6qt dutch oven or heavy pot.


  • The day before: Simmer the lamb necks in about three quarts of water for about six to eight hours to make a lamb stock. This step is optional. You don’t have to make your own lamb stock but it really improves the stew so I recommend it. If you don’t do this then have a couple of quarts of chicken stock on hand for later.
  • Cut salt pork into lardons. Simmer the pork in fresh water for ~10min in order to remove much of the salt. Drain the pork, pat it dry and add to dutch oven. Cook until crispy then remove from the pot and set aside.
  • Combine the flour and 1 tsp salt. Flour the lamb bits. Brown the lamb in the fat leftover from salt pork and set the browned lamb aside.
  • Sautee the veggies/aromatics in pork/lamb fat until soft.
  • Push the veggies to the sides of pot. Add the tomato paste to the center of the pot and stir/cook it alone for a couple minutes before stirring in the veggies.
  • Add back the lamb and pork. Add 1.5qt stock, thyme and the bay. Bring to boil then immediately to a low simmer. Slap the top on and simmer on very low for ~3 hours. The pot should be barely bubbling. This slow and low simmer turns a cheap cut of lamb into a tender tasty stewy goodness.
  • Remove the thyme stems and bay leaves. Stir in barley. Turn the heat up slightly and put top back on. Simmer for about an hour of until the barley is done.
  • Season to taste.
  • Serve topped with marjoram. Again, this is optional but makes everything sooo much better.

And that’s it: lamb and barley stew. It turned out pretty well, I thought. I served it with some freshly baked Irish soda bread. Carb overload? Perhaps. Tasty comfort food? Definitely.

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