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Recipe: Lamb and barley soup

LeftoversNow’s the best time of year for lamb. Lovely, lovely lamb, so tender and juicy – and pricy.

Last week, I picked up two lamb shanks for about €11.00 and made this recipe from BBC Food. It tastes as good as it looks, with the meat falling off the bone.

rack-of-lambI’m always loathe to throw out any meat bones, so I made a stock from the leftovers. Any lamb bones will do.

This recipe is somewhere between a soup and a stew – you could bulk it out by adding potatoes to the pot.


  • For the stock: Lamb bones, 1 carrot, 1 stick of celery, and 1 onion
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • Finely chopped parsley
  • 1 chicken or lamb stock cube
  • Salt and pepper
  • A knob of butter


For the stock:

  • Cover the lamb bones with water in a large pot, along with a stick of celery, a carrot, and a peeled onion chopped in two.
  • Bring to the boil with the lid partially on, immediately reduce to a simmer, and cook on a low heat for 2-3 hours.
  • For a pure stock, discard the bones and vegetables by sieving the mixture; it will keep in the freezer for two months. If you’re making the soup, you may wish to keep some of the meat from the bones.

For the soup:

  • Sweat the leek and onion in butter for three minutes. Add the garlic, celery and carrots and sweat for a further five minutes, with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the prepared lamb stock, the stock cube, and the pearl barley, topping up with water if necessary.
  • Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve with brown bread

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