Warmer weather means a rethink when it comes to what you’re planning to put on the menu. Out go the roasts, casseroles and stews, and in come lighter dishes inspired by seasonal ingredients such as lamb and spring greens. The April issue of Country Homes & Interiors contains some lovely spring soup recipes – I should know as I tried them all on the shoot (it’s a tough job etc). A great halfway house between stodgier winter food and lighter summer dishes, here’s a recipe for Mutton and Pearl Barley Broth that we didn’t have room for in the magazine and don’t want you to miss out on. We’re big fans of mutton here and are following The Mutton Renaissance campaign. Launched in 2004 by the Prince of Wales to support British sheep farmers, the aim is to get this delicious meat back on the nation’s plates. For more info, go to muttonrenaissance.org.uk (and don’t miss the fabulously named Mutton Mutterings section…) This flavoursome soup is made using a cut of meat that requires long slow cooking. It takes a while, but is well worth the wait as the pearl barley, vegetables and tender lamb combine to transform simple ingredients into something special. This recipe serves 4-6, and you will need…
1 mutton shank
2 rosemary sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
½ swede, chopped into small pieces
½ turnip, chopped into small pieces
100g pearl barley
1 Put the mutton shank in a pan, add 1 rosemary sprig and pour in 1.5 litres cold water. Season well. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum and discard, then cover and simmer for 1 hour. Turn off the heat under the pan and whip out the shank.
2 Heat the oil in a separate pan and gently sauté the onion, carrot, celery, swede and turnip for 5-10 minutes until softened and starting to turn golden around the edges. Meanwhile cut all the meat off the bone and chop into small pieces.
3 Add the pearl barley to the pan and pour in the mutton stock. Add the chopped mutton. Cover and reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour until the mutton and pearl barley are both tender. Snip over a little extra fresh rosemary, taste for seasoning then ladle into bowls.Tweet