Neck of lamb with lemon and barley
This beautifully simple recipe from Hugh's Russian friend, Ivan Samarine, is one he has revisited and reworked over the years. This latest incarnation makes an easy one-pot supper of it with the addition of pearl barley or pearled spelt and a few handfuls of shredded greens. Neck, or scrag end, is one of the cheapest cuts of lamb you can buy. It rewards thrifty, patient cooks for their trouble with loads of flavour and melting tenderness.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based flameproof casserole, add the lamb and allow it to sizzle and spit for a few minutes, turning until it is lightly browned all over. Add the lemon juice, thyme and some salt and pepper, then enough water or stock barely to cover the ingredients.
Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and put in an oven preheated to 140°C/Gas Mark 1. Cook for about 2 hours, then add the pearl barley or spelt and cook for a further 30 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and place on the hob over a medium heat.
Add the greens and simmer for a couple of minutes, until they are just cooked through. Serve with plenty of good white bread to soak up the juices.
- 1kg scrag end or neck of lamb on the bone, cut into chunks about 2cm thick
- 4 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
- Juice of 1½ lemons
- 4–8 sprigs of thyme
- Water or stock to cover
- 120g pearl barley or pearled spelt
- About 200g kale, Brussels tops or spring greens, roughly chopped, tough stems removed
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
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