After mutiny at the table last night and following a grey chilly day, it was clear that some old fashioned, plain food was required for dinner tonight. With some lamb neck fillets in the freezer, some fresh herbs from the garden and a handful of vegetables in the fridge this stew drew on what we had to hand. The end result was nothing too fancy, but flavourful and filling none the less. Plates were cleared all round so it definitely did the job!

Serves 4

Ingredients

400g of lamb neck fillet
1 large onion
3 plump garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 medium carrots, sliced
8 (or so) small baby potatoes, halved
1 leek, sliced thinly
Lamb stock
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp fresh thyme, (leaves removed from stalk)  
150g pearl barley
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & pepper
Fresh pesto, to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees (140 fan oven).

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based casserole. Season your lamb and brown for a few minutes before removing to a separate dish.

Add the onions, salt them and then soften in the pan for 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook gently for a further 2 minutes.  

Add the lamb back to the pan along with the chopped tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, leek, stock and herbs and bring to a gentle simmer. Season.

Cook in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven. Check the seasoning and add more herbs if required. Stir well and then add the pearly barley.

Cook for a further 50 minutes until the barley is cooked and has soaked up some of the juices.  

Serve with warmed fresh pesto.