Pork shoulder and pearl barley stew
- January 2014
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 30 min, simmering time 1¾-2 hours
This delicious pork and pearl barley stew has all the makings of a perfect rainy-day dinner. It’s freezable so you can save the leftovers for another day.
- 20.1g (7.7g saturated)
- 20.4g (6g sugars)
- 75g lard, dripping or butter
- 3 medium carrots, quartered lengthways and chopped
- 3 small celery sticks, finely sliced
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 British free-range smoked streaky bacon rashers, chopped
- 4 cloves, crowns pinched (see tip)
- Heavy grating of fresh nutmeg
- 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
- 600g British free-range pork shoulder, diced
- 125ml red wine
- 100g pearl barley, rinsed
- Sea salt flakes to taste
- Melt the lard, dripping or butter in a heavy flameproof casserole that has a lid. Add the veg, herbs, bacon, cloves, nutmeg and a good grinding of black pepper. Fry over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for 6-8 minutes. When softened and becoming tender with only the faintest catching (not browning or burning) occurring, add the tomato purée. Cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or so, then add the pork shoulder and stir to combine.
- Stir in the wine and allow to simmer for a minute or so. Add enough water to come up to the level of the mixture – no higher. Bring up to a faint simmer, then adjust the heat to keep it that way. Remember that once the lid is on, the temperature will rise.
- Cover with the lid and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours until the pork is tender (check from time to time – you don’t want it to boil away – and add a little water if it’s completely dry). Thirty minutes before the end of the cooking time, stir the pearl barley into the stew.
- When cooked, the stew should appear moist rather than wet or dry. Season to taste with sea salt flakes, then stir through the extra thyme sprigs to serve.
You can make this dish up to 2 days in advance, then keep chilled in a sealed container. Reheat, then stir through the extra thyme sprigs before serving. Alternatively, freeze the finished, cooled dish for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating.
To pinch the crowns of cloves, press the ball at the top between your fingers. This lets the flavour infuse the dish.
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