I LOOOVVVVEEE Lamb. For me no other protein does compare.
Sadly my other half does not share this opinion of lamb. The lovely husband happens to be of the opinion that lamb has a gamy, strong taste. I would say lamb does have a distinct flavor, however for me the flavor is mild, possibly even slightly sweet when compared to beef.
Early on in our relationship he would politely eat lamb when I cooked it, then as the honeymoon drew to a close the complaints about not liking lamb started and despite my best efforts to covert the husband to a lamb lover it just didn’t work. I even tried to sneak in lamb ribs one night for dinner – they were quickly identified. (Damn him and his good palate!)
Are you a lamb lover?
These days we agree to disagree on lamb and I only cook lamb when he isn’t home. I occasionally will treat myself to lamb chops, but usually when cooking for one I will make a lamb curry or stew. Something that will make the most of my efforts and reward me with leftovers I’m happy to eat for a few days. One of my favorite winter treats is this lamb barley stew with cheese dumplings. Ahh stew and dumplings there really is no better winter comfort food.. Am I right?!?
This stew is seriously luxurious. I know you are probably thinking Meaghan stew, dumplings and luxury should not be in the same sentence, but just try one bite. One spoonful and your mouth will agree there is just something about this stew that makes it luxurious. It is so rich and flavorful that you’ll be happy for leftovers, because it tastes even better the next day and the next day! Plus it freezes exceptionally well. I love to make a pot and freeze into individual portions for a comforting, stress-free mid week dinner.
So while this stew did not win over my lovely husbands’ heart, I sure hope it wins over your heart!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 0.6 kg (1.5 lbs) lamb stew meat, cubed
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 2 medium leeks, sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 200ml red wine
- 800ml beef stock, hot
- ¾ cup pearl barley
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Small bunch fresh Italian parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Mustard and Parsley Dumplings:
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup mature Cheddar, grated (optional)
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1.5 tbsp water
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven over a medium high heat. Season the lamb and sear in batches, until browned. Remove the lamb and set aside.
- Add the celery, leeks and carrots to the dutch oven and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then stir through the flour.
- Pour in the wine and bubble for a few minutes, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Then add the hot stock, barley, bay leaves and parsley bundle. Return the lamb to the pan, and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour until the lamb is tender. Remove the bay leaves and herbs.
- While the stew cooks, make the dumplings. Mix the flour, butter, mustard, cheese and parsley with salt and pepper and a splash of water, until you get a soft dough. Roll into walnut-sized balls. After the stew has cooked for one hour, add the dumplings to the stew and cook for another 30 minutes more.