Scrag end, squash & barley broth

by Ed Smith

A hearty broth for a cold January day

This recipe came about as part of my article on the hidden charms of scrag end of lamb—you can read it here.


1.8kg scrag end of lamb, in 3cm thick chops
1 lemon
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
300ml white wine
20g parsley
600g butternut squash, cut in 2-3cm dice
100g pearl barley
4 tbsp sunflower oil


Pre-heat oven to 160C. Peel the zest from the lemon with a vegetable peeler. Scrape the white pith from the strips of zest, then slice the zest into thin strips. Dice and slice the onion and garlic. Chop the parsley, keeping the stalks and leaves separate.

Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium flame. Add 1 tbsp oil, the onions and a pinch of salt and soften for 3-4 mins. Add the garlic, lemon zest and chopped parsley stalks and cook for 2 mins more. Then add the dried herbs, stir and decant into a medium-large casserole or oven-proof saucepan with a lid.

Return the frying pan to the hob and turn the heat up. Add the remaining oil and brown the lamb in batches—around 2 mins per side—before putting into the casserole. Once finished, deglaze the frying pan with the wine, reducing the liquid for about 45 secs. Add this to the casserole along with 1.5 litres of water. Bring to just below a boil, put a lid on top and cook in the oven for 1¾ hours.

Once that time is up, add the diced squash and return to the oven for 10 mins, then add the barley and cook for 25 mins more. The meat should be ready to fall from the bone, the broth flavoursome, and the squash and barley tender. Season with plenty of salt, pepper, chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Scoop the squash and barley into bowls with a couple of scrag end chops per person, then spoon plenty of broth over the top. It’s a meal in itself, though some crusty sourdough bread and good butter is a cracking accompaniment.

Recipe and image: Ed Smith