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Lamb, butternut and barley stew recipe

Lamb, butternut and barley stew recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Stew and casserole
  • Lamb

Like Irish stew and Lancashire hotpot, this hearty dish is made with good-quality lamb, plus lots of vegetables, pearl barley, and bay leaves and thyme for flavouring. Serve with purple sprouting broccoli or curly kale and baked potatoes.

37 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 lamb chops, about 450 g (1 lb) in total, trimmed of fat
  • 2 onions, quartered lengthways
  • 2 large leeks, about 400 g (14 oz) in total, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) pieces
  • 1 butternut squash, about 600 g (1 lb 5 oz), peeled, seeded and cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) chunks
  • 2 turnips, about 200 g (7 oz) in total, quartered lengthways
  • 100 g (3½ oz) pearl barley
  • 900 ml (1½ pints) hot lamb stock, preferably home-made
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley to garnish

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:1hr30min ›Ready in:2hr

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F, gas mark 3). Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, add the chops and brown them on both sides. Remove the chops and set aside.
  2. Add the onion wedges and fry for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Stir in the leeks, squash and turnips. Cover and sweat gently for 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the pearl barley and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then pour in the hot stock. Tuck the chops in with the vegetables, and add the bay leaves, thyme and seasoning to taste. Bring to the boil, then cover the casserole. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender.
  4. Remove the casserole from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, to allow the barley to soak up more of the stock. Taste the stew for seasoning and serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.

Some more ideas

For extra piquancy, add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce or a couple of crushed garlic cloves with the herbs in step 3. * Try diced carrots, swede or potatoes instead of the butternut squash and turnips. * Make the stew into a hearty soup. Brown 340 g (12 oz) trimmed and diced boneless lean leg of lamb in the oil. Remove from the pan. Add 2 chopped onions, 2 chopped leeks, 400 g (14 oz) diced swede and 200 g (7 oz) diced carrot. Sweat for 5 minutes, then stir in the pearl barley, 1.3 litres (2 1/4 pints) hot lamb or vegetable stock, 2 bay leaves and 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Season, then cook in the oven for 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender.

Plus points

Pearl barley is low in fat and rich in starchy carbohydrate, and according to folklore it is a good food for potency and vigour. Roman gladiators ate barley to build up their strength, similar to the way today's athletes eat pasta the night before they compete. * Butternut squash is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is essential for good night vision. Butternut squash is also a good source of vitamin C and a useful source of vitamin E. All of these vitamins act as antioxidants, fighting against some cancers and preventing heart disease.

Each serving provides

A, B1, B6, B12, C, E, folate, niacin, zinc * iron, magnesium, potassium * B2, calcium

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(3)

Reviews in English (4)

Something else.Chucked it all in slow cooker before work and - mmmmm - delicious later with crusty bread from breadmaker!-22 Feb 2011

Very nice and flavoursome. I cooked it in the slow cooker - will cook it again.-28 Sep 2009

Great dish! I followed the recipe, only substituting chicken stock for the lamb stock, and adding a beef bouillon cube for added flavor. It was wonderful on a cold January evening. I will definitely make this again.-19 Jan 2016

Recipe Summary

  • 8 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 cups Guinness Stout
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
  • 2 cups 1-inch-thick diagonally sliced carrot
  • 8 ounces baby turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan swirl to coat. Add onion, thyme, and rosemary sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place onion mixture in a large bowl. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle lamb evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dredge lamb in flour, and shake off excess. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan swirl to coat. Add half of lamb mixture to pan sauté for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add browned lamb to onion mixture. Repeat the procedure with remaining lamb and remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

Add beer to pan bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 5 minutes). Return onion mixture and lamb to pan. Stir in the tomato paste cook 30 seconds. Add broth and bay leaf bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and stir in potato, carrot, and turnips. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon mustard. Ladle about 1 cup stew into each of 7 bowls sprinkle evenly with parsley.


Season the beef with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and then toss in a large bowl with 2 Tbs. of the flour. Heat 1 Tbs. of the butter and the oil in a 5-1/2- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook half of the beef until browned on several sides, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef.

Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in the pot. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until evaporated, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 Tbs. flour and cook for 1 minute.

Whisk in 5 cups of the broth. Stir in the barley, bay leaves, sage, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the beef along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot snugly with foil and then a tight-fitting lid and braise in the oven until the beef is almost tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the squash and the remaining 1 cup broth. Cover with the foil and lid and continue braising until the beef and squash are very tender, about 30 minutes more. Remove and discard the bay leaves from the stew, and then stir in the parsley and half-and-half. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep hot.

In a small bowl, combine the softened 1-1/2 Tbs. butter with the blue cheese, walnuts, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Spread the mixture evenly onto the baguette slices. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Serve with Arugula, Carrot & Celery Root Salad with Almonds and rustic bread for sopping up the stew.

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In a large pan, heat the oil and butter. Sweat off the onions and garlic, slowly teasing the flavours out – 15 mins or so over a low heat should do it.

Add the potatoes and cover them in the creamy juice of the onions and garlic. Add lots of freshly ground black pepper and 3 pinches of salt (2 pinches if you’ve got big hands). Leave the potatoes and onions in the pan for a further 15 mins over a very low heat, making sure you don’t burn them. If you’re worried they may burn, then add a little bit of stock.

Now attend to the lamb. Trim the fat off the chops and place it in a frying pan over a low heat. Let the fat render down, then add salt and pepper. Remove from the frying pan what remains of the solid fatty bits then add your chops. Once brown, remove and place them in the pan with the onions and potatoes.

Add some of the stock to the frying pan to get all the nice, savoury, jammy bits off the bottom, then add to your chops, onions and potatoes. Pour the remainder of the stock into the pan, to just below the level of your ingredients. Put the lid on and leave for 1 ½ hours over a low heat. Should your heart desire, add some parsley 10 mins before the stew is ready. Remove it from the heat and leave for about 10 mins to rest. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Lamb Stew with Spices, Butternut Squash and Chestnuts

As you probably know by now, my passion is for food that tastes delicious, but is also easy to make, stress-free and family friendly. I strongly believe that great tasting food does not have to be complicated, but nor does easy food have to be boring! I love experimenting and having fun with food.

So when I was contacted recently by the people behind the ‘LAMB. Tasty Easy Fun’ campaign, who are trying to spread the word that lamb is delicious, easy to cook with and so much more than a Sunday roast, I knew it was a perfect fit for my blog.

Not only am I hugely passionate about food being tasty, easy and fun, but I am also a massive fan of lamb and cook with it most weeks. In fact some of my favourite recipes include lamb.

‘LAMB. Tasty Easy Fun’, is an EU funded campaign which aims to increase the use of lamb in everyday cooking. Lamb is often considered difficult to cook, expensive, or something to be saved for Sunday roasts. The aim of the campaign is to demonstrate just how tasty, easy and fun lamb is to cook with every day of the week!

They also have a wonderful website, full of tasty and easy lamb recipes that go way beyond the traditional roast lamb we all know and love.

To help promote their campaign, the people at ‘LAMB. Tasty Easy Fun’ set me a challenge…to cook and review a recipe from their website and then create my own tasty, easy and fun lamb recipe. Well, you know me – I love a challenge, and with this one especially, I just couldn’t wait to get started!

So for the first part of the challenge, I hopped over to their website to choose what I was going to make and I was totally stuck for choice – there are so many incredible lamb recipes on the site! So, it took me quite a while to choose, but given we are in autumn and heading ever closer to Christmas, the one that caught my eye was this delicious Lamb Stew with Spices, Butternut Squash and Chestnuts. So, so perfect for this time of year.

And so, what was it like? I can assure you it is even more delicious than it sounds! (And it sounds pretty good!!) The recipe was very easy to follow and prep time was accurate. Better still, most of the time the stew needed little or no attention. And, seriously, the result was incredible! Plus my kitchen was filled with the most delicious smells. As an added bonus, because my children and don’t eat a full portion, there was easily enough for an additional meal for both me and my husband. Perfect for reheating the next day for lunch!

I chose to serve this with lovely seasonal kale and some bulgur wheat, but it would go brilliantly with couscous, pearl barley, quinoa or even good old mashed potato! Alternatively, for an even simpler recipe, serve this stew with a good chunk of crusty bread and then there is the added bonus of only one pan to wash up.

For the second part of the challenge, the folks at ‘Lamb. Tasty Easy Fun’ have asked me to come up with a tasty, easy and fun recipe all of my own… Find out what I made here >>>

Traditional Irish Stew with Lamb

Making Irish stew could not be easier, and this recipe shows you how to make it the authentic Irish way using plenty of tasty lamb and wholesome veggies.

  • Author: Victoria Haneveer
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 25 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 mins
  • Yield: 10 1 x
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Irish


  • 1 1/2 pounds diced bacon
  • 6 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, in 2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups diced carrots
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Fry the bacon in a skillet until evenly browned, then drain and crumble it.
  2. Toss the lamb with the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Brown the lamb in the skillet in the bacon fat, then transfer it into a stock pot, leaving 1/4 cup of fat in the skillet.
  4. Saute the garlic with 1 of the onions in the skillet until the onions start to become light brown, then deglaze the skillet with the water.
  5. Add the onion mixture to the skillet with the bacon, stock and sugar.
  6. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Add the potatoes, carrots, remaining onions, thyme, bay leaves and wine to the pot.
  8. Turn the heat down and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until all the veggies are tender.


Irish stew can be garnished with some fresh parsley, like in the picture.
It is even better the following day so a lot of people will make this a day in advance then reheat it gently. The flavors just seem more intense that way.

Paula Deen Signature Porcelain Nonstick 6-Piece Cookware Soup and Stew Set, Red Speckle

Paula Deen is synonymous with cooking and this 6 piece cookware set is not only gorgeous looking but it will also perform very capably and last you for years. Try making your Irish lamb stew recipe with bacon in here.

Whether you make lots of stews or the occasional one, and regardless of your cooking ability and what kind of food you like, everyone needs good quality pots and pans because they will affect the outcome of your recipes. This is a great cookware soup and stew set to consider.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder blade chops
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • ⅓ cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Generously season lamb chops with salt and black pepper.

Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Place lamb chops in Dutch oven and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate and reduce heat to medium.

Stir onion and a pinch of salt into the Dutch oven cook until onions are slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Pour pomegranate juice into the Dutch oven and scrape any browned bits off of the bottom of the pot. Pour in balsamic vinegar, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Stir rosemary, mint leaves, and red pepper flakes into pomegranate juice mixture. Continue to boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Return lamb and any accumulated juices to Dutch oven, spoon pomegranate mixture over lamb, and cover.

Cook in the preheated oven until meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. Transfer lamb to a plate and set Dutch oven on the stovetop over high heat. Bring pomegranate mixture to a boil cook, skimming any fat that accumulates, until liquid is reduced by 1/3, about 5 minutes.

Stir in honey and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Return lamb to the Dutch oven stir to combine. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, sliced mint leaves, and pumpkin seeds.

Summer Lamb Stew Recipe by Chef Chad Byrne

This summer lamb stew recipe by chef Chad Byrne is quite simple and a perfect flavoursome meal for the summer.


1kg lamb neck, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-size pieces, leave whole
5g tsp salt
3g freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 medium carrots, small dice
12 radish cut in 1/6
Handful peas
Handful peeled broad beans
12 baby turnips (boil in salted water until tender 4mins depending on size and refreshed separately with skin on, peel with a back of a knife keeps the shape for a professional look)
200g pearl barley
1L chicken broth
50ml butternut squash (sweet) or turnip (sour) juice
10g coriander seeds (toasted)
10g freshly chopped oregano
10g bush basil, much lighter and delicate than normal basil

1. In a large pan of cold water bring the lamb to a gentle simmer with the water just covering the surface of the lamb.
2. Skim off the top where the impurities will rise, after 50 mins strain through a fine sieve keeping the juice and the lamb.
3. In the same empty pot add the olive oil and flour. Gently cook for two to three minutes and slowly whisk in the juiced squash or turnip (turnip is sharp adds lovely unusual bite to the dish) and chicken stock.
4. Add the lamb stock and lamb. Add barley, onion, carrot and coriander and cook for 30 mins slowly until tender, lastly add fresh herbs peas and beansand seasoning.
5. Take out the lamb and seal in a heavy pan, I season it with ras el hunet and seal all sides.
6. Place stew in a bowl and add the fried lamb garnish with fresh herbs and orange zest.
7. Serve with some grilled sourdough and fresh tomato for a great lunch.


Currently the Executive Head Chef at Danú Restaurant in The Brehon, Killarney, Chef Chad Byrne has extensive experience working in renowned establishments such as the Michelin Star restaurant Ristorante Semplice in London, the five star Heritage Golf & Spa Resort in Killenard, The Killarney Park Hotel and The Clarence and Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

Chad was awarded Irish Gastro Chef of the Year in 2012 along with a Gold Medal from Chef Ireland 2012 and has also represented Ireland in the culinary Olympics in Errfurt Germany. Danú Restaurant holds 2 AA Rosettes and Chad runs the kitchen with the ethos of food, focus and fun.

  • 15g butter
  • 900g stewing lamb
  • Sea salt, freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 medium onions, peeled and cut into thin wedges
  • 6 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 125g pearl barley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 litres of lamb or vegetable stock, hot

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.

2. Place a casserole dish over a high heat, melt the butter and add the lamb. Season with salt and pepper, and stir until it is a nice brownish colour. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process, browning the vegetables, before also transferring them to a plate.

3. Spoon all the vegetables, lamb, and pearl barley into the casserole dish, placing the potatoes on top — this stops them from getting mushy. Remove all the leaves from the thyme, discarding the stalks, and then add them to the dish. Cover with the hot stock and place in the pre-heated oven for 1 ½ hours.

4. While the lamb stew is cooking, make the roux. Melt the butter in a saucepan and beat in the flour until it forms a paste. Once the casserole has cooked, ladle the juices from the stew into a saucepan and slowly beat in the roux. Cook, stirring until thickened and smooth, then pour the thickened gravy back into the stew, before serving and pouring yourself a glass of wine.

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