Thick-cut smoked ham and hearty pearl barley combine with fragrant herbs in this delicious, flavourful one-pot recipe. Serve with steamed greens for the perfect midweek meal to keep the winter chills at bay.
Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Put a large ovenproof casserole dish on the hob over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion, then cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is just beginning to soften. Stir in the carrots and fennel and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Stir through the barley until coated in the oil and cooking juices, then add the tomatoes, bay leaves and stock cube with 850ml (1 1/2pt) water. Bring to the boil, skimming off any foam that bubbles to the surface. Stir well, then season with freshly cracked black pepper. Cover the casserole dish with a lid and transfer to the oven for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and give everything a good stir. Season to taste. Remove the bay leaves and discard. To serve, ladle the stew into 4 bowls and divide the ham between each. Scatter over the dill and finish with a dollop of mustard, if you like.
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For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home and view the full Food Safety at Home video.