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This is a hearty stew that will blip and bubble it’s way to tenderness, filling the kitchen with warmth and one that requires no more than a stack of bowls and perhaps some good crusty bread to mop up the juices to serve
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/ Gas Mark 2. Roughly chop the garlic, thyme and rosemary leaves. In a pestle and mortar, bash together the garlic, thyme, chopped rosemary and some sea salt until you have a coarse paste
Peel and roughly chop the onions, celery and carrots.
Using a small sharp knife, poke holes in the lamb and then rub all over with the garlic and herb paste, pushing it into the holes as you go.
Heat a little of the oil in a large casserole with a lid over a high heat. Add the lamb and brown it on all sides until it has a golden brown colour. Remove the lamb from the casserole and set aside on a plate.
Add a little extra oil to the pot if required, add the onions, celery and carrots and cook for about 6-8 minutes until the onions have softened.
Add the pearl barley, pour in the ale and stock, add back the lamb on top, pop in the bay leaf and bring to a steady simmer.
Cover with the lid and place in the oven to cook for about 4 hours until the meat is completely tender. Baste with the liquid at regular intervals.
Remove the lamb from the pot and leave it to rest on a chopping board. If any fat remains spoon away from the top of the cooking liquid from the pot and discard. Serve the pearl barley broth with rough slices of the lamb and a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley.
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