Ragout of Mutton

Posted in - Mrs C.S. Peel's Recipes & Recipes on October 9th 2013 2 Comments

I told two people I was making something with pearl barley in it yesterday and you’d think I had told them the pathways were lined with gold or something so if you are not excited about mutton (which you will be if you try this), you may be about pearl barley!


The words of Granny Dot:

‘1/2 lb of shoulder or neck of mutton; 2 onions; 2 carrots; 1 bay leaf; 1 oz. fat; 2 ozs pearl barley (soaked overnight); 1 1/2 pints stock, or water; 1/2 oz flour; salt; pepper.
Method. – Cut the mutton into neat pieces, removing any superfluous fat and bone.  Peel and shred the onions, wash and scrape the carrots and cut into dice.  Melt the fat in a casserole. Fry the mutton light brown both sides. Remove, fry the onions and carrots, and the flour and brown lightly, add the stock gradually, stirring well; bring to the boil, put in the meat, bay leaf, seasoning and barley, place the lid on the casserole and put in a moderate oven, or on the hot plate, and simmer the contents gently 1 hour, or until the barley is soft. Skim off the fat and serve in the casserole.  If the barley absorbs the stock more must be added. If cooked over a gas ring it must be turned low and an asbestos mat should be placed under the casserole.
To Dish. – Serve in the casserole placed on a hot dish.’
The Daily Mail Cookery Book, 1922, Mrs C.S. Peel)

To add a little more flavour, tomato puree and wine, plus some herbs are in the recipe below.  If you would prefer a more broth-like stew, then omit the wine and the puree.  I think our taste buds are spoiled these days to a certain extent, by strong flavours; mine demand a richer flavour anyway.  But if you have some lovely stock to hand, which I didn’t, then you may not feel the need to put in my suggested additions.

What really did make this dish particularly good was the addition of chopped parsley and grated lemon rind.

1 1/2oz/50g butter
2 onions finely sliced
1 large carrot, diced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme or rosemary
1 lb mutton taken from the shoulder, leg or neck
1 oz/28g flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
120 mls red wine
1 pint/568mls water, lamb or vegetable stock
2 ozs/57g pearl barley

1 grated lemon
1 handful of chopped parsley

1.  Heat a heavy based casserole and melt the butter.  Add the vegetables and herbs.
2.  When lightly cooked, add the meat and brown.
3.  Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes.
4.  Stir in the tomato puree.
5.  Add the wine and the stock or water, and the barley and put the lid on.  Let is simmer gently for an hour.
6.  Serve with vegetables and the parsley and lemon garnish.


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