Spiced Lamb and Barley Stew

, from Issue #67. July, 2016
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Spiced Lamb and Barley Stew

Aromas will fill your kitchen as the warm spices mingle with the barley and lentils into a rich, hearty stew. Adding the lamb at the end of cooking ensures it stays tender and the lemon juice adds a final fresh note.

Serves: 6


500 grams boneless lamb leg steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons each ground garam masala and cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
½ cup red lentils
½ cup pearl barley, rinsed
400-gram tin crushed Italian tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock

small handful of chopped coriander or parsley
½ lemon
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
thick plain yoghurt
sea salt and ground pepper 


Trim the lamb of all fat and sinew and cut against the grain into 1cm thick slices. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and when very hot, add the lamb in 3–4 batches and stir-fry for 1 minute. Transfer each batch to a bowl then set aside. Don’t wash the saucepan.

Add the leek, carrot, onion and garlic and all of the spices to the saucepan and cook until tender, adding a little more oil if needed.

Stir in the bay leaf, red lentils, barley, tomatoes and the stock.

Season and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid slightly ajar for 30 minutes or until the barley is cooked and the stew is thick.

Add the lamb and any juices to the pan and allow to heat through.

To serve: Stir in the herbs and lemon juice then ladle into bowls. Top with the red onion and serve with yoghurt and warm naan breads or roti.