Lamb, bean and barley casserole

IMG_0176 lamb and beans

Beans are a great source of protein for all the family.  Bean and sausage casseroles are common in family cook books and often loved by little ones. For a change, why not try cooking beans with lamb and barley?

Pearl barley is full of fibre and a cheap and easy way to bulk up a casserole or stew.  It works really well with lamb. This recipe is a favourite in our house.  We like to pop it in the oven to cook while we head out for a walk on a crisp and chilly Sunday afternoon.  It warms us right up when we get in!

For 4 large portions you will need: 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g lamb neck fillet cut into 3 cm cubes
  • 3 onions cut into large chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100 g pearl barley rinsed in cold water and drained
  • 750 ml chicken or lamb stock
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 tins of beans drained of their liquid (a mixture of cannelini, borlotti and chickpeas works well)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat the oven to 150 C.  Use a large casserole that can be transferred from the hob to the oven (we use a Le Creuset pot).  Brown the lamb in the olive oil on a high heat for 3-4 minutes.  Lower the heat, add the onions and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.  Then add the garlic and cook for a minute.

Stir in the tinned tomatoes, the pearl barley, 500 ml of stock and the rosemary.  Heat, stirring the mixture until it starts to bubble.  Put the lid on the casserole and pop it in the oven for at least 1 hour (or longer if you can – the longer it’s cooked the better).  The meat should be tender at this point.

Add the beans and the rest of the stock and put the casserole back in the oven for 20 minutes .  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with crusty bread.

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8 thoughts on “Lamb, bean and barley casserole

    • Hi Belle Glad you’ll be trying the veggie recipes. We often eat vegetarian – good quality meat is really expensive in London. We don’t compromise by buying it in the supermarket, only from our local butchers. This means we have to eat it less often and we’ve become quite good at tasty and filling veggie options.

      I think your vegetarian strips would work in this but I’d probably fry them off and then add them to the casserole for the last 15 minutes or so (not sure what their consistency is and whether or not they’d survive the oven for a couple of hours….).

      This stew actually works really well without meat – we were inspired by a vegetarian recipe from The River Cafe to create it, but we added the lamb. I’d probably just go with beans and barley alone and see what you end up with 🙂

      Let us know how it goes! Elaine

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