*Note: Neck of mutton may be either whole or in chops (use lamb only if you have to).
Start to cook this dish the day before serving. Boil the neck of mutton in a large covered pan in 2-1/2 pints lightly salted water for 2 hours (or more if the meat needs it). Skim off all the scum and the excess fat as it rises to the surface of the water.
Take out the meet when it is tender. Put in the barley and leave it soaking in the stock overnight. Next day, bring the stock and barley back to the boil. Prepare and dice all the vegetables except the leeks to the stock and cook for another 60 minutes. Add the leeks, cut into fine rings, 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
If you want to have the meat in the stew, strip it off the bones, cut into small pieces and return it to the soup before reheating thoroughly.
Put a tablespoon of parsley in each plate, and pour in the soup. If you prefer a two-dish meal, serve the meat as a main course afterwards with potatoes - Golden Wonder are Chrissie's preferred variety. Bake the potatoes if they are mature. Or boil them in their jackets if they are new. For really fluffy, floury boiled potatoes, Chrissie cooks hers whole and unpeeled (never cut a Golden Wonder) for 12-15 minutes, depending on average size. Then drain out all but a little of the water, lid the pan tightly and steam the potatoes for another 10 or 15 minutes, shaking regularly, until they are dry and floury in texture.
Source: Elisabeth Luard in "Country Living" (British), February 1989. Typed for you by Karen Mintzias