Lamb, Plum and Barley Mow Lamb, Plum and Barley Mow

Lamb, Plum and Barley Mow

An aromatic slow-cooked lamb stew flavoured with Marsala wine or Port and with pearl barley, kale, red plums and freshly chopped parsley. 

prep time
25 mins

cook time
2 hours 45 minutes

6 people


  • 675g/1½lb lean boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2.5cm/1inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 15ml/1tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 30ml/2tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 150ml/¼pint marsala wine or Port
  • 600ml/1pint good, hot lamb stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150g/5oz pearl barley
  • 75g/3oz roughly chopped kale or Savoy cabbage
  • 2 fresh ripe red plums, stoned and roughly chopped
  • 30ml/2tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish


Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3, 170°C, 325°F.

Put the lamb cubes in a large bowl, season and mix with the cinnamon.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the lamb in batches for 3-4 minutes until brown on all sides. Spoon into a 1.7L/3pint ovenproof casserole dish.

In the same frying pan, cook the onion, garlic and carrots for 2-3 minutes. Spoon into the casserole dish with the lamb. Add the wine or Port to the pan, scraping the base of the pan to release any sediment and pour into the casserole dish.

Add the stock and bay leaves to the casserole dish. Bring to the boil, cover and transfer to the oven and continue to cook for a further 2 hours.

Remove from the oven, add the pearl barley and return to the oven for 30 minutes. Add the kale and plums (if used) and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves, garnish with the parsley and serve.