Slow-cooked Irish stew

Slow-cooked Irish stew

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(26 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 8 hrs


Serves 6

Middle neck or scrag end of lamb are flavoursome cuts and perfect for braising. This traditional casserole contains filling pearl barley, too

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily halved

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal673
  • fat39g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs40g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre7g
  • protein40g
  • salt1.4g
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  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 200g smoked streaky bacon, preferably in one piece, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 900g cheap stewing lamb like middle neck or scrag (ask at your butcher counter), cut into large chunks



    A lamb is a sheep that is under 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

  • small bunch thyme


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 3 onions, thickly sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 5 carrots, cut into big chunks



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into big chunks



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 700ml lamb stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 85g pearl barley
  • 1 large leek, washed and cut into chunks



    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • small knob of butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…


  1. Heat the slow cooker if necessary, then heat the oil in a frying pan. Sizzle the bacon until crisp, tip into the slow-cooker pot, then brown the chunks of lamb in the pan. Transfer to the slow-cooker pot along with the thyme, onions, carrots, potatoes, stock, bay leaves and enough water to cover the lamb. Cover and cook on Low for 7 hrs.

  2. Stir in the pearl barley and leek, and cook on High for 1 hr more until the pearl barley is tender.

  3. Stir in the butter, season and serve scooped straight from the dish.

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Comments, questions and tips

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10th Jan, 2016
I followed the recipe down to the t but it's smells and tastes awful never again I don't get the good reviews !
6th Nov, 2015
Given the ingredients, I was wondering where the 11g of sugar indicated comes from....carrots?
lea lea
2nd Nov, 2015
I don't know if it's best to put the veg at the bottom of the slow cooker with the meat on top.
4th Feb, 2016
It is better to put the meat on top of the veg when slow cooking.
30th Oct, 2014
Really easy to prepare. The ingredient amounts were too much for the size of my slow cooker, so I ended up using a large chili pot on an electric stove top, set to low. The cooking time was a little quicker then in the slow cooker but the results were fantastic. Pearl barley is hard to get in my area, so I used brown rice. It worked out well, reducing the amount of excess liquid. Really delicious!
14th Oct, 2014
this is in my slow cooker as i write this, its smells absolutely delicious, have some nice, fresh crusty bread to go with it!
24th Mar, 2014
also, forgot to add, I put a bit of cornflour mixed with water in during the last half hour, just to thicken the sauce a little.
24th Mar, 2014
I made this in my slow cooker for a St Patrick's feast. Absolutely beautiful - everyone had seconds. I put it in my slow cooker on high at 11am and it was ready at 5.30pm. I did use steak pieces instead of lamb just due to cost and I also didn't add in pearl barley or leeks at the end as I didn't have any. It was still great. I thought I'd have some left over, but it was all gone - someone even clean the pot out with a buttery bit of bread - musta been good!


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