Lamb Shanks with Leeks and Barley


  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced or chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 2–3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (optional)
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • ½ pt / 280 ml red or white wine, lamb stock or water
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1–2 sprigs thyme
  • 6 oz / 170 g pearl barley
  • 1 lb / 455 g leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • salt


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.