In a flameproof casserole, fry the onion in the oil until golden brown, adding the garlic, if using. Add the lamb shanks and brown all over, then add the wine, stock or water, the peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and barley. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add the leeks, and salt to taste, stir to cover them with juice, and continue cooking until the lamb, barley and leeks are tender. The casserole can also be cooked in a preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F / Mark 4 for about 2 hours, or for longer at a lower temperature if more convenient.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.