20 g (4 oz) mixed dried mushrooms
1 litre (14 pint) boiling vegetable stock
4 tablespoons cream sherry or fresh orange juice
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
40 g (12 oz) sultanas
125 g (4 oz) pearl barley
4 lamb chump chops, about 150 (5 oz) each
250 g (8 oz) ready-prepared pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 2 cm (4 inch) dice
salt and pepper
chopped mint and parsley, to garnish


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Add the dried mushrooms to the slow cooker pot and pour in the boiling stock, then stir in the sherry or orange juice, onion, cumin, garlic and sultanas.
2. Spoon in the barley and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the chops on top in a single layer, season, then tuck the pumpkin or squash into the gaps between the chops.
3.Press the chops and squash down lightly into the stock, then cover with the lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours until the lamb and vegetables are tender.
4.Lift the chops out of the slow cooker, stir the barley, then spoon on to plates, top with the chops, broken into pieces, and sprinkle with the herbs. Serve with spoonfuls of harissa, if liked.
5.FOR PUMPKIN & BARLEY RISOTTO, omit the lamb and use 400 g (13 oz) ready-prepared, diced pumpkin.
6.Cook as above, then add 125 g (4 oz) spinach, rinsed and drained, to the risotto for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
7.Serve topped with spoonfuls of Greek yogurt, chopped mint and parsley and buttery fried flaked almonds.

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