Leg of Lamb & Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine & Balsamic Vinegar

PARTNEREDPOSTFor the last few weeks my mind has been firmly on comforting, one-pot dishes using lamb and beef. We produce really excellent quality meat in the UK and it’s a pleasure to cook dishes that make the most of it.

I recently shared a tasty beef goulash recipe that uses shin of beef, a very affordable cut. I love this kind of stewing cut – long slow cooking can be so convenient, allowing us to put a dish in the oven earlier in the day and come home to a delicious meal later on; it also turns a cheaper cut into something utterly delicious – it’s an almost magical transformation! My favourite cut of beef for this kind of cooking is beef cheek (also known as ox cheek); it becomes so tender after a few hours of cooking and has such a wonderful flavour.

Check out my guide to which cuts of beef are best for which type of dish or cooking method.

For today’s recipe, I decided to splurge a little on a half leg of lamb, which currently costs less than £10 a kilo at most supermarkets and generously feeds four.

This one pot dish is very straightforward to make; it’s comforting yet a little different to the typical stew, and smells absolutely gorgeous too. The red wine and balsamic vinegar give a wonderful flavour which is just so good with lamb, a genius combination that I learned from Genevieve Taylor in her book, Stew!, published a few years ago.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats (2)

Leg of Lamb & Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine & Balsamic Vinegar

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1 kg half leg of lamb on the bone
  • 5-6 medium onions , peeled and quartered
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 350 ml red wine
  • 150 ml balsamic vinegar
  • vegetable oil
  • 150 g pearl barley
  • 250 ml water


  • Preheat oven to 150°C.
  • Measure wine and balsamic vinegar into a measuring jug and set aside.
  • In a large casserole dish that can also be used on the stove, heat a little vegetable oil, then brown the lamb on all sides. Remove the lamb from the dish and set aside on a plate.
  • Add more oil only if needed, then cook the quartered onions in the same dish until some of the edges char to brown, stirring occasionally. The wedges usually break into one or two pieces during this stage.
  • Add the garlic and rosemary to the onions, stir well and then place the browned lamb over the top.
  • Pour the wine and vinegar mix into the casserole dish, over the lamb and onions.
  • Place a lid over the lamb and put into the oven.
  • After two hours, take the dish out of the oven.
  • Add the pearl barley and water and stir well. It may be easier to remove the lamb first and then put it back in after you’ve added the barley and water. Turn the lamb other side up, to allow the rest of it to submerge in the cooking liquid.
  • Return to the oven for a further hour, removing the lid for the final 15 minutes.
  • At this stage, the pearl barley should be plump and cooked through, and the lamb will come away from the bone easily with a fork or spoon.
  • Serve with some fresh green salad or green vegetables.

Note: If you’d like to make this recipe without the pearl barley, omit both pearl barley and the water that is added with it. Do stir and turn the lamb over at that same point, and if the volume of liquid remaining is high, remove the lid for the final 30 minutes instead of 15.

Simply Beef and Lamb is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. It supports the Red Tractor Mark and the Quality Standard Mark which provide consumers with confidence in what they are buying. The Red Tractor Mark covers food safety, animal safety, traceability and environmental impact. The Quality Standard Mark, as its name suggests, is all about the quality of the meat itself, and requires that all beef and lamb awarded the mark meets very high standards throughout the food chain, from farm through to meat counter.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats (1)

This post is part of Simply Beef and Lamb’s #LivePeasant campaign, encouraging us to embrace a more rustic approach to cooking, and to think about traditional recipes using beef and lamb.

You may also enjoy these #LivePeasant recipes by fellow bloggers:

This post is a paid commission for Simply Beef and Lamb and part of their #LivePeasant campaign. Visit their website for more great beef and lamb recipes and detailed nutritional information.

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14 Comments to "Leg of Lamb & Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine & Balsamic Vinegar"

  1. Kavey

    Thanks, i really wanted to make this a complete one pot meal but without over complicating with too many additional ingredients!

  2. Diana

    This looks wonderful Kavey! I don’t eat meat very often but the #LivePeasant campaign reminded me that I need to incorporate more meat in my diet.


    When I was younger I was far less aware but these days i prefer to eat a little less meat but to buy good quality, welfare assured meat, even though it costs a bit more. It’s worth it on so many levels.

  3. Gingey Bites

    This looks really nice Kavey! I’ve got a half leg of lamb in the fridge actually and some pearl barley too so I might just give this a try 🙂

  4. Heidi Roberts

    Lamb is such a great Spring comfort food and so versatile. I always forget about pearl barley!


    I do too but was thinking about ways to make this a one-pot dish a while ago without adding a heap of vegetables, and pearl barley was the idea that jumped out!

  5. Margot

    Personally I don’t eat red meat but this sounds like something my husband would really enjoy!! It looks so fragrant. Perfect comfort food 🙂


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