Sunday, 18 January 2015

January Blues

Yesterday snowflakes were swirling in the air like ice-clad ballerinas and this evening, as I look out of the window I see a thick layer of ice coating the cars and pavement like fondant icing.
At this time of year, many people  embark on diets, eschewing carbohydrates, sugar and other comforts that make the dreary days and long, dark nights bearable. In this cold weather we need warming, comfort food. Why not make a delicious stew.  It takes very little effort, you can go and do something else while it is cooking in the oven.  My New Year's resolution is to dance more, so while my stew is cooking, I shall be dancing around my kitchen.


Serves 4

500g middle neck of lamb or stewing lamb                                                          
4 medium potatoes
4 carrots
1 onion
Pearl barley
salt and pepper

Large ovenproof casserole dish, approximately 1.5 litre, with lid

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 2 1/2 hours

1.   Cut meat into cubes, approximately 2cm.
2.    Peel and thinly slice the potatoes and put them in a bowl of cold water
      to remove some of the starch, then drain them off. 
3.   Peel and slice the onion and carrots.
4.   Put layers of meat, potatoes, onions and carrots, seasoning with pepper
      and finishing with a layer of potatoes. Pour in water to come halfway up
      the casserole dish and add 1 tablespoon of pearl barley.
5.  Put the lid on the dish and put stew into the oven at gas mark 3/170 for 2 hours.
6.  After 2 hours, remove the lid of the casserole and turn up the heat to
     gas 4/180 for 30 minutes to allow the top layer or potatoes to turn golden.

7.  Serve with some additional green vegetables.

Top tip
To save time, cook a double quantity and freeze half so you have a lovely homemade stew in your freezer.

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