LET’S face it: this pandemic and associated restrictions are not only pushing us to revaluate our priorities, — but our daily habits, writes Jeff Gomez, UCC Sports & Mardyke Arena UCC’s Performance Manager.
Lamb Pearl Barley Stew and Fresh Herb Gremolata, by Darina Allen, www.cookingisfun.ie A substantial pot of stew fortified with pearl barley, this is really good with lots of gremolata sprinkled over the top. It is a variation of Irish stew, which is the quintessential one-pot dish.
350g (12oz) piece of green streaky bacon (blanched if salty)
1.8kg (4lb) gigot or rack chops from the shoulder of lamb, not less than 2.5cm (1 inch) thick Well-seasoned plain flour, for dusting
A little extra virgin olive oil, for frying
350g (12oz) mushrooms, thinly sliced
700g (1 1/2lb) whole, small onions — baby ones are nicest
350g (12oz) carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
150g (5oz) parsnips, peeled and thickly sliced
400g (14oz) pearl barley
About 2.8 litres (4 3/4 pints) homemade lamb or chicken stock Sprig of thyme
Flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chervil and mint
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 generous teaspoon grated or finely chopped organic lemon zest
Flaky sea salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- First make the stew. Cut the rind off the bacon and cut into about 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes. Divide the lamb into 8 pieces and roll in the well-seasoned flour.
- Heat a little oil in a 25cm (10 inch)/3.2-litre casserole over a medium heat and sauté the bacon until crisp. Remove to a plate.
- Sauté the mushrooms, season well, set aside.
- Add the lamb to the casserole in batches, with a little more olive oil if necessary, and sauté until golden. Heat control is crucial here: the pan mustn’t burn, yet it must be hot enough to sauté the lamb. If the pan is too cool, the lamb will stew rather than sauté and as a result the meat may be tough. Remove the lamb to a plate.
- Add another splash of olive oil to the pan and sauté the onions, carrots and parsnips until golden. Return the bacon and lamb to casserole, together with the pearl barley.
- Season well, pour in the stock, add thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 1 to 11/4 hours till meltingly tender; cooking time will depend on age of the lamb and how long it was sautéed. Add mushrooms about 30 minutes before the end.
- Meanwhile, make gremolata. Mix together the chopped herbs and garlic in a small bowl, add the lemon zest and season to taste with a little flaky salt.
- Once the casserole is cooked, remove the thyme and season to taste. Leave the casserole to sit for 15–30 minutes to allow the pearl barley to swell. (If necessary, the casserole can be reheated later in the day, or the next day.) Serve bubbling hot, sprinkled with the gremolata.
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* Next Saturday in the print edition of The Echo: We have more nutrition advice, more tips for athletes, and advice on mental health and lifestyle
* You can catch up on all our home work out videos by clicking the link below 'Keeping Cork Healthy'.