200g smoked streaky bacon, preferably in one piece, skinned and cut into chunks
900g cheap stewing lamb like middle neck or scrag (ask at your butcher counter), cut into large chunks
small bunch thyme
3 onions, thickly sliced
5 carrots, cut into big chunks
6 medium potatoes, cut into big chunks
700ml lamb stock
3 bay leaves
85g pearl barley
1 large leek, washed and cut into chunks
small knob of butter
Heat the slow cooker if necessary, then heat the oil in a frying pan. Sizzle the bacon until crisp, tip into the slow-cooker pot, then brown the chunks of lamb in the pan. Transfer to the slow-cooker pot along with the thyme, onions, carrots, potatoes, stock, bay leaves and enough water to cover the lamb. Cover and cook on Low for 7 hrs.
Stir in the pearl barley and leek, and cook on High for 1 hr more until the pearl barley is tender.
Stir in the butter, season and serve scooped straight from the dish.