1tbsp fresh thyme leaves or pinch of dried mixed herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
600ml near-boiling lamb or vegetable stock
Trim all excess fat from the lamb and cut into 3cm pieces. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the lamb and fry until browned. Remove and set aside.
Add the onions to the pan and fry gently for 5 minutes until golden. Add the celery and carrots then cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Transfer to the ceramic cooking pot and switch the slow cooker to high.
Sprinkle the pearl barley over the vegetables, then arrange the lamb pieces on top.
Lightly season then scatter with the herbs. Pour in the stock ensuring all the meat is covered.
With the lid on, cook on auto or high for 2 hours. Using a large spoon, skim off any scum that has risen to the surface of the casserole.
Re-cover the pot and leave on auto or switch to low for a further 4-6 hours or until tender.