Season the brisket with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the beef and fry for 3–5 minutes, until browned on all sides, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and adding extra oil, if necessary. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Add the beans and potatoes to the cooker.
Pour off any excess fat from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Reduce the heat to low, add the onions and fry, stirring, for 8–10 minutes until just starting to brown. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Transfer the onions and garlic to the cooker.
Add the barley, bay leaves, brown sugar, tomato purée, thyme and paprika to the cooker and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour over just enough boiling water to cover all of the ingredients, then stir to dissolve the sugar and tomato purée.
Cover the cooker with the lid and cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then switch the cooker to LOW and cook for a further 7 hours. Add the eggs, gently pushing them down into the cooking liquid. Re-cover the cooker and cook for another 1 hour until the meat, barley and potatoes are tender.
Remove and discard the bay leaves and add a little more salt and pepper, if you like. Remove the eggs from the cooker, then shell them. Divide the eggs into bowls, then add a mixture of meat, potatoes and barley to each. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
© 2012 All rights reserved. Published by Watkins.