Try our hearty Irish lamb and barley soup

As the leaves turn golden and the cooler weather sets in, nothing can warm you up better than a steaming bowl of hearty soup. This traditional Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup Recipe is a perfect balance of tender lamb, filling barley, and flavorful vegetables like onions, carrots, and cabbage cooked to perfection in a beefy broth. It is slow-cooked to create a warm, inviting aroma that fills the kitchen with the classic flavors of an Irish stew.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it is easy to adapt based on what ingredients you have on hand. Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or just craving comfort food, this soup is a delicious and satisfying meal that will fill your belly and leave you feeling content. So let’s get started on creating this classic Irish dish that promises to bring warmth and comfort on even the chilliest autumn nights.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup
Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup

This Irish Lamb-and-Barley Soup recipe is a classic dish that will definitely leave you feeling warm and satisfied, and it’s perfect for any occasion! Here are some reasons why you’ll love this recipe:

Firstly, the combination of savory lamb pieces and hearty barley creates a perfect marriage of flavors. The aroma is irresistible as soon as you start cooking, making your kitchen smell like a dream come true. This dish is slow-cooked, which means that each ingredient blends beautifully with one another to create a symphony of flavors. It’ll be nearly impossible to resist dipping your spoon into the pot for just one more taste.

Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can make it in a slow cooker, or you can cook it over the stove-top; either way, it still tastes amazing. You can also substitute or add ingredients if needed to cater to your specific preferences or available ingredients in your area. For example, if you’re not a fan of lamb meat or if it’s hard to come by, substituting it with beef would work just fine too.

Lastly, this dish is perfect for those cold days and nights when you need something comforting and wholesome – just what you need to beat the winter blues! It’s an authentic Irish recipe that has been passed down through generations and has become a staple all over the world. Sipping on a bowl of hot soup while snuggled up under blankets is unbeatable.

So why not embrace this classic Irish recipe by cooking up a pot of warm and hearty Irish Lamb-and-Barley Soup for dinner tonight? Your taste buds will thank you!

Ingredient List

“A bowl of comfort on a chilly night”

– 2 pounds diced lamb (lean boneless leg of lamb or lamb shoulder cut into 1 inch pieces)
– 1 large piece (200 grams) lamb shank, bone-in, cut into two pieces

– 1 onion chopped
– 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
– 4 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage

– 1 cup pearl barley
– 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1 bay leaf

Broths and Water:
– 2 cans beef broth (10.5 ounces each)
– 1 cup water

Herbs and Spices:
– Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– Salt, to taste

Oils and Fats:
– 2 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 tablespoon butter

– Cooking spray

The Recipe How-To

“A medley of hearty vegetables and tender lamb”

Now it’s time to get cooking! Here is the step-by-step guide to making Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup.

Step 1: Brown the lamb

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 pounds of diced lamb and brown on all sides, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes.

Step 2: Add onions, carrots, and garlic

Stir in 1 chopped onion, 4 peeled and chopped carrots, and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are slightly softened.

Step 3: Add barley and spices

Add 1 cup of quick-cooking barley, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice, and a pinch of garlic powder. Stir to combine all of the ingredients.

Step 4: Add water and beef broth

Pour in 6 cups of water and two 10-ounce cans of beef broth (or homemade) into the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about an hour.

Step 5: Add cabbage and continue cooking

Stir in about 4 cups of coarsely chopped green cabbage. Cover again and simmer over low heat for another hour or until the lamb is fork-tender and the vegetables are soft.

Step 6: Remove bay leaf and adjust taste

Remove the bay leaf from the pot. Taste-test your soup and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper to your liking.

You now have a delicious pot of Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup that’s perfect for chilly evenings!

Substitutions and Variations

“Savory barley adds a delightful chew to every spoonful”

As a Chef, I encourage you to get creative and experiment with substitutions and variations to make this Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup Recipe your own. Here are some ideas to get you started:

– Vegetarian: For a vegetarian version of the stew, replace the lamb with vegetables like mushrooms and eggplant or use seitan.

– Boost the nutrition: Try to add more vegetables like spinach, kale or Swiss chard.

– Lamb alternatives: Another lamb option for the stew is using lamb shanks instead of boneless leg of lamb. You can also make this stew with neck of lamb as it is relatively cheaper.

– Cut of meat: If beef is more your jam, swap out the lamb for beef stewing meat or beef shank.

– Change up the liquids: Replace half of the broth with vegetable broth, chicken broth or Guinness beer to give the soup more depth and richness.

– Grains Switches-up: For a change from using pearl barley plain quinoa or farro would be wonderful options! You could try canned chickpeas or lentils as well.

Remember each changes you made that includes adding a new ingredient can affect the overall flavor profile of this traditional Irish soup recipe. All replacements should be made cautiously.

Serving and Pairing

“Elevate your soup game with this Irish-inspired recipe”

Once your Irish lamb-and-barley soup is ready, it’s time to serve it up and enjoy! But before you do, here are a few tips for serving and pairing this dish.

First, you’ll want to make sure that your soup is nice and hot before serving. If it’s been sitting for a while and has cooled down, simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave until it’s piping hot.

When it comes to garnishes, a sprig of fresh thyme or some chopped parsley can add a pop of color and flavor to your soup. You can also top it with a spoonful of sour cream or grated Parmesan cheese if you like.

As for what to serve alongside your soup, crusty bread is always a classic choice. You could also pair it with a simple green salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette to balance out the richness of the soup.

If you’re looking to make a full meal out of this dish, consider serving it alongside some roasted vegetables or grilled meat like chicken or steak. The hearty flavors and textures of this soup also make it a great match for full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

However you choose to serve and pair your Irish lamb-and-barley soup, one thing is for sure: this comforting and flavorful dish is sure to be a hit with everyone at your table.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Perfect for those who love a rich and filling meal”

Listen closely my friends, for the key to the most delicious Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup is in the make-ahead, storing, and reheating process. You see, this hearty stew soup tastes even better after it has been allowed to set and develop its flavor. So, if you can resist digging into it right away, try making it ahead of time!

One tip I have for you is that this soup stores well in the fridge or freezer. This not only makes things more convenient but has been known to enhance the flavors of the dish! Before you store it in either place, be sure to let it cool down completely so that there’s no trapped heat causing too much moisture build-up.

As for reheating, I suggest using low heat either with a pot or microwave. The veggies and meat will shift around when you do this but that shouldn’t worry you as long as you keep stirring and keep cooking them.

Just remember, slow-cooked meats like lamb and beef hold their flavor and texture better when you reheat them in slow and low heat settings. Whenever you do reheat soup that has been stored, add a splash of beef broth or water if it seems too thick to reach desired consistency.

With these tips in mind, go forth and enjoy your delicious hearty Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup anytime out there!

Tips for Perfect Results

“Slow-cooked to develop deep flavors and tender meat”

When it comes to cooking Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup, there are a few key tips I’ve learned over the years that can help you achieve perfect results every time. Here are my top recommendations to ensure your stew is hearty, flavorful, and comforting.

Firstly, don’t be shy with the spices. This recipe calls for a combination of allspice, bay leaf, pepper, garlic powder, and dried thyme. These spices add depth and richness to the broth and complement the lamb beautifully. So, make sure to use fresh, high-quality spices and season generously.

Secondly, try to source lean boneless leg of lamb if possible. It’s a cut that’s perfect for stews because it becomes tender and flavorful when slow-cooked.

If you can’t find boneless leg of lamb, boneless lamb shoulder would be a good alternative. Just remove any excess fat before adding it to the soup.

Thirdly, while quick-cooking barley is used in this recipe in order to cut down on cooking time, feel free to substitute pearl barley if you cannot find quick-cooking barley. Pearl barley will give the soup more texture and body which is always welcome.

Fourthly, brown the lamb well. Take care not to overcrowd the pan or crockpot during browning since any steam that is generated from ingredients releasing their liquid will prevent them from browning properly. Proper browning adds extra flavor to your soup – so don’t skip this step!

Lastly, balance your liquids correctly. A ratio of 1:1 beef broth to water results in a full-bodied broth; however if you want a heartier soup with more substance consider using 2 cups beef broth and 3 cups water instead.

Implementing these tips will result in an Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup that is sure to warm you up on even the coldest of days!


Now that you know how to make this delicious Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup Recipe, you might have a few questions about the process. In this section, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions to ensure your soup turns out perfectly every time. So let’s dive into these FAQs!

Do you rinse barley before adding to soup?

If you plan on including pearl barley in your soup or stew, it’s best to give it a quick rinse beforehand to get rid of any impurities. To make the cooking process faster, consider using a pressure cooker.

What is the purpose of barley in soup?

If you’re looking to add some variety to your cooking, consider using barley in your recipes. This versatile grain is a fantastic addition to soups and stews; it has the ability to thicken and bring a hearty texture to them. In addition to its whole form, barley also comes in the form of flakes, which can be used similarly to oats or grits. Barley flour is also a viable option, serving as a substitute for plain or whole wheat flour in baking. Want to try out how barley fares in your dishes? Keep reading for a British recipe that incorporates it perfectly.

What cut of lamb is good for soup?

When it comes to making a delicious stew or casserole with lamb meat, both the shoulder and leg cuts are excellent options. The shoulder meat requires some trimming to remove excess fat, while the leg yields leaner and more uniform pieces. Regardless of the cut you choose, both offer a tender and flavorful result that will leave your taste buds satisfied.

Does Irish stew contain barley?

This dish is bursting with delicious flavors and the addition of hearty barley makes it a comforting meal that you won’t be able to resist, no matter the season. In addition to this British recipe, I also have recipes from around the world, including a delightful Italian Lamb Stew. So why not broaden your culinary horizons and give it a go!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup Recipe is a perfect go-to meal for any day of the week. With a variety of nutritious ingredients like carrots, green cabbage, and lean boneless leg of lamb, this soup will keep your belly full and satisfied. The quick-cooking barley is a great source of fiber and will keep you feeling fuller for longer periods. Additionally, this recipe can be easily customized to suit individual preferences.

This recipe is one that has been around for many years and has been passed down through generations in Ireland. Its rich history and cultural significance make it a classic dish that will take you on a journey to the heart of Ireland. So the next time you’re in the mood for some lamb stew or simply want to try something new, give this traditional Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup Recipe a try. Your taste buds will thank you!

Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup

Irish Lamb-And-Barley Soup Recipe

This is from Cooking Light. Posting for ZWT3.
Course Soup
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 60 Mins, Easy, European, Inexpensive, Lamb/Sheep, Meat
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Calories 332.1kcal


  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 lbs lean boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped peeled rutabaga
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Place a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot.
  • Add lamb; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Add broth and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.
  • Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until the lamb is tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Discard bay leaf.


Serving: 507g | Calories: 332.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.1g | Protein: 36.6g | Fat: 10.1g | Saturated Fat: 3.4g | Cholesterol: 90.8mg | Sodium: 1305.3mg | Fiber: 5.8g | Sugar: 6.9g

Recommended Recipes Just For You

None found