Nigel's Lamb and Barley stew for supper tonight. As I was at home today, it was a simple and pleasurable half-an-hour of work to chop onions, leeks, celery, parsnips, carrots and potatoes to mix with pre-cooked barley and chunks of lean lamb leg steaks (I know, the recipe specifies neck chops but they are a bit fatty for me). All mixed together in a pot with a pint of good chicken stock, lots of black pepper and some fresh bay leaf and thyme. It all simmered gently on the hob for a good three hours. Just before serving, masses of chopped flat-leaf parsley was added which freshened the flavour.
The verdict? Well, it was fine, but not as good as my father's Scotch Broth. However, there is half left for lunch at work tomorrow, and it is cheap, filling, sustaining and warms the cockles on a day which struggled to rise above -3 degrees C outside. So, a success - and, an hour after eating, and the temperature outside registering -10 degrees C, I can still feel the warming benefit of it. Hubby loved it and declared it superior to the Irish Stews of his youth (he's from Belfast, so he should know!). I think this may be down to a leaner cut of lamb which avoids the carapace of hard lamb fat which we would normally have when it cools down - nice!