Lamb and barley soup

Full of tender lamb cubes, deliciously nutty pearl barley and chunky vegetables, this substantial soup is really a meal in a bowl. Savoury herb–scented scones are served as an accompaniment. They can either be dunked in the soup or served alongside.

Lamb and barley soup


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 350 g lean boneless lamb, cut into 2 cm dice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 250 g turnips, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 250 g swede, cut into 1 cm dice
  • ½ cup (110 g) pearl barley
  • 1.25 litres chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ⅔ cup (100 g) frozen peas
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1⅔ cups (250 g) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons (60 g) butter
  • ¼ cup (15 g) chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup (15 g) snipped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 150 ml low–fat milk


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the lamb over a high heat for about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring often.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lamb to a plate.
  3. Add the onion, carrots, turnips and swede to the pan.
  4. Stir well and cook for 2–3 minutes.
  5. Return the lamb to the pan and stir in the barley, stock, rosemary and thyme with seasoning to taste.
  6. Heat until simmering, then reduce the heat and cover the pan.
  7. Simmer gently for 40 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, make the scones.
  9. Preheat the oven to 230°C and grease a baking tray.
  10. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
  11. With your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  12. Stir in the herbs, then make a well in the middle and pour in all but about 1 tablespoon of the milk.
  13. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the milk to make a fairly soft dough.
  14. Turn the scone dough out onto a well–floured surface.
  15. Dust your hands with a little flour, then lightly pat and knead the dough into a smooth ball.
  16. Flatten the dough and roll it out into a round about 2.
  17. 5 cm thick and 13 cm across.
  18. Place the dough round on the baking tray and use a large sharp knife to cut it into 8 wedges, leaving them in place.
  19. Wipe the knife with a damp cloth between cuts to prevent the dough from sticking to it.
  20. Brush with the reserved milk and bake for 10–15 minutes or until well risen and deep golden brown on top.
  21. Slide the scone round onto a wire rack to cool.
  22. Add the peas to the soup and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  23. Taste for seasoning, then ladle the soup into large bowls and serve with the scones.
  24. If you like, wrap the scone round in a clean tea towel and take it to the table on a large board.
  25. Break it into wedges to serve.

Serves 4
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: about 1 hour


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