This rib-sticking dish uses braising cuts as its base. It is traditionally made with sheep meat but you can use beef; shoulder and stewing chops are good. I went a bit mad with swedes and turnips, carrots and parsnips for the root vegetables and at the end added peas and fresh mint (which is not traditional).
Serves 8, with leftovers
1 Cut 6 lamb stewing chops and, using a solid pot, quickly toss in a bit of hot oil to seal.
2 Add a finely sliced leek, a diced stick of celery and 2 medium onions diced.
Cook these a bit with the meat.
3 Add about 2 cups of mixed diced root vegetables - carrots, parsnips, swedes, turnips, even kumara or pumpkin would work. Toss these and add a cup of barley. Cover with 6 cups of cold water and allow to simmer. The barley will absorb a lot of liquid so you may have to add more. This is a soup but it can be served quite thick.
4 When the contents are tender, season well. You will be astounded as to how much salt and pepper it will take to get a good flavour. Once happy with the seasoning, add a cup of frozen peas and simmer until they are cooked.
5 Before serving add half a cup of chopped fresh mint.By Grant Allen