This dish has it all: great flavors, authenticity, and relative ease in cooking (especially when you consider the results). This Irish Stew is great for any occasion – not just St. Patrick’s Day although it’s very much welcomed on the day.
There is some debate about the method and ingredients found in true Irish Stew. What is for certain is that in America Beef and Guinness Stew is often confused for Irish Stew and at times a hybrid dish is served. The confusion is easily understood as Guinness is surely an iconic Irish product and the stew that bears its name is also an Irish staple.
Of course there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of creativity in the kitchen and in the end it’s the result that matters. If it’s tasty then you have done it right. Irish Stew is based on lamb, root vegetables and potatoes. This is a simple farmhouse dish but as with many dishes of this sort it is wonderfully sublime when done well.
Irish Stew Ingredients
3 pounds lamb shoulder, cubed 1.5 inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 onions diced
6 medium carrots cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 cups of lamb or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
10 new potatoes cut in half
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Brown the lamb well in a heavy pot that you will use to build this stew. Do this in several batches to ensure proper browning being sure to salt and pepper the meat. When all the meat is browned set it aside and add the onion and carrot to the pot and sauté until they begin to soften but do not brown the veg. Remove from the pot when done. Add the stock to the pot scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen the caramelized meat, onions and carrots. Remove the stock from the pot and return the meat seasoning well with salt and pepper. Top with the onion and carrot and then the potatoes. Add the thyme and bay leaf, as well as a generous dose of salt and pepper. Return the stock to the pot. If the stock does not cover the meat and veggies by one inch add water to achieve this depth. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours depending on the toughness of the meat. Strain the stock away from the stew’s solids and skim off the fat or use a fat separator. Thicken the stock with a small bit of roux if you like and return the solids to the stock. Just before serving stir in the parsley and adjust the seasoning as desired.
It can be made in advance and kept warm in a low oven for hours. Serve in warm bowls with cool stout and Irish Whiskey.