First time I had this was as a staff meal in Bon Apetite cooked by a chef from Darndale in Dublin. It’s very simple, but such a comfort food winner.
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots peeled and chopped
6 slices of smoked streaky bacon rashers, roughly chopped
2-3 large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in 1cm slices
500ml chicken stock
2 sprigs thyme
100g pearl barley
A good handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
A generous knob of butter
The ultimate comfort dish. Disclaimer, all the traditionalists will have to excuse the frying of the sausage. I just can’t bear to look at a naked sausage in my stew.
Preheat the grill to high.
Place a large casserole pan over a medium high heat and add a drop of oil. Fry the bacon and sausages until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain off any fat.
Place the onions into the casserole dish, add in the thyme, bacon and sausages, pearl barley and finish with a layer of potatoes across the top. Pour over the stock and place the pot, covered with a lid, over a high heat and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the lid from the dish and spoon pieces of butter over the potatoes. Season beautifully with the sea salt and transfer to the oven to cook for 10-15 mins. We want a crispy top to the potatoes.
Serve with crusty bread and the chopped parsley.