Irish Stew

Irish stew brings up childhood memories for many of us, good and bad. Whilst many of us love the dish, other will just take it or leave it, but its worthwhile rediscovering that there is nothing better than a well cooked Irish Stew.

By using the correct cut of lamb, good ingredients, slow gently cooking and good presentation you will have a delicious dish. The best of cut of lamb to use is the middle neck but old lamb or mutton leg meat also works well.

While many of us think of the first month of spring and lamb unfortunately this is not true as most of the lamb available is mutton (a year old) making British lamb perfect for this dish in March. I like to serve Irish Stew with a warm bread such as Irish Soda Bread.

Irish Stew

Portions: 4-6 Portions

Preparation: 10-15 minutes

Cooking: 50-60 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g floury potatoes e.g. King Edwards, peeled and cut into cubes the same size as the meat
  • 1kg middle neck of lamb or old lamb leg meat or another cut of stewing meat, boned and trimmed and cut into even pieces (2-3cm cubes)
  • 500g new potatoes (similuar size to meat pieces) peeled (if large cut into pieces the same size of the meat)
  • 1 bouquet garni (bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and parsley tied together)
  • 1.5 litres of chicken or lamb stock
  • 500g carrots, peeled and cut into pieces the same size as the other meat and vegetables
  • 3 sticks of celery, sliced

To Serve

  • 3 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
  • Slices of warm bread with butter

Method

  1. To Cook: Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan or casserole pan over a moderate heat. Add the onions and sweat them for a couple of minutes until transparent and soft. Add the floury potatoes and garlic and cook for a further minute, then add the lamb , bouquet garni and stock to the pan and bring it to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and leave it to cook at a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes. Occasionally skimming off the scum that comes to the top.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, thyme and new potatoes to the pan, cover the pan and leave it to simmer for another 30 minutes. The lam should be tender and the floury potatoes should have broken down to thicken the stew while the new potatoes should retain their shape. Season the stew with a little salt and pepper to taste and serve.
  3. To Serve: Place the lamb pieces in the centre of 4-6 bowls and place the vegetables around the meat. Sprinkle the chives and parsley over the meat and vegetables and pour over the cooking liquid. Serve with slices of warm bread with plenty of butter.