My Recipe Box

Irish Stew

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Serves 6

  • by Colman Andrews from The Country Cooking of Ireland

I've eaten Irish stew in private homes and public eating places all over Ireland, north and south, probably twenty-five or thirty examples in all, and no two have been alike. Along the way, I've come to believe that the construction of this dish should adhere to a few simple guidelines: 1. Use the best quality lamb you can find, but use the less expensive, more flavorful cuts. 2. Keep it simple: the world won't end if you add carrots or fresh thyme, but don't throw too many different things in the pot. 3. Cook it very slowly; an old adage has it that "a stew boiled is a stew spoiled." 4. Always make the stew the day before you serve it; a night in the refrigerator really will improve it. 5. The finished product should be thick enough that you can stand a spoon in it.

  • 3 lb. mutton or lamb from the neck or shoulder, trimmed and cut into cubes
  • 2 lb. russet potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 lb. onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

Put the lamb, potatoes, parsley, and onions into a heavy casserole with a lid and season with salt and pepper. (Or layer the ingredients, starting and ending with a layer of potatoes, and seasoning each layer to taste).

Add 2 cups of water or enough to barely cover the ingredients. Bring to a simmer over low heat (do not boil), then cover and put into the oven. Cook for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender and the stew is thick, adding a little water if the stew dries out too much.

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer

I would suggest using beer insted of water. When my irish friend cooked it, she basically opened the frige and took almost every thing. ham, sausages, cooked eggs al king of veg... it was the best thig ever tased.

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