• 1 head of garlic
  • 5 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 850g diced lamb shoulder
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 70ml white wine
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • zest of 1 small lemon and 2 tbsp juice
  • 300g baby potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 60g pearl barley
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh mint
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • crusty bread to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Put the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves on a square of tin foil and wrap it up into a parcel, making sure it’s tightly sealed. Roast the garlic in the oven for 15 minutes, until soft. Open the foil packet and allow to cool slightly, then squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skins with the back of a knife. Set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy-based casserole over a high heat. When the pan is smoking hot, season the diced lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan, add the lamb and cook just until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl, then pour off all the fat and oil in the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the onion, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add the wine and let it bubble up for a minute or two, stirring to deglaze the pan. Add the lamb back to the pan along with the roasted garlic, thyme and rosemary sprigs, bay leaves, stock and lemon zest. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, then transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes, until the lamb is tender.

Add the baby potatoes to the lamb. Return the casserole to the oven and cook, still covered, for 30 minutes more, until the potatoes are completely cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook the barley separately in a pan of boiling water for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain, then add the cooked pearl barley to the lamb along with the parsley, mint and lemon juice. Return to the oven to cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasoning.

To serve, bring the stew straight to the table along with plenty of good crusty bread to let everyone help themselves.

Shop the recipe

Avoca at Home Cookbook

Our newest cookbook. Avoca at Home is filled with over 100 delicious recipes. A celebration of home cooking and of sharing delicious, indulgent, comforting food at home. A perfect gift for foodies and home cooks.