Mutton is without doubt the best meat to use for a soupy broth like this. You will probably need to ask your butcher to order it in advance, although butchers are coming round to the fact that mutton is back in vogue and they are making more of an effort to stock it generally. About time too.
A broth like this is also perfect to take in a vacuum flask on a day's fishing, or shooting or on a long country walk.
250-300g neck fillet, or boned shoulder of mutton lamb, cut into rough 1cm dice
½tsp chopped thyme leaves
30g pearl barley, soaked in cold water for 1 hour then drained
50g dried split peas, soaked in cold water overnight, drained and rinsed
2ltrs lamb or chicken stock, or a couple of good-quality stock cubes dissolved in that amount of hot water
alt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small leek, well rinsed, trimmed and cut into rough 1cm dice
2 carrots, peeled if necessary and cut into rough 1cm dice
1 celery stalk, peeled if necessary and cut into rough 1cm dice
1 small swede (turnip), peeled and cut into rough 1cm dice
A few leaves of green cabbage, stalks removed and cut into rough 1cm dice
1tbsp chopped parsley
Put the lamb, thyme, barley and split peas into a large pan and cover with the stock. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the vegetables, except for the cabbage, and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Next add the cabbage and parsley and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Season again with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve.