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Traditional Irish Stew – The Daring Gourmet


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A traditional Irish Stew recipe featuring succulent lamb, sweet root vegetables, and an irresistibly rich broth.  True to tradition, it’s made with simple ingredients but the end result is a total showstopper.  Get ready for an incredibly flavorful and robust stew that will nourish both body and soul!

Irish stew recipe authentic traditional lamb potatoes carrots parsnips onions

What is Irish Stew?

If you look up “Irish Stew” recipes online you’ll see there’s a lot of confusion. Many of the recipes call for beef and many include wine or Guinness, often confusing Guinness stew with Irish stew. However the two are completely different. Guinness Stew is a classic Irish pub dish featuring beef and, as its names suggests, Guinness. Irish stew on the other hand dates back much further to the simple cooking of peasant land workers and features mutton or lamb, a few vegetables, broth, salt and pepper, and sometimes parsley and/or a bay leaf.  Nothing more.  Simple and simply delicious, Irish Stew is the beloved national dish of Ireland.

However, to claim that there is only one authentic way to make Irish stew is nonsense. Like most peasant dishes, Irish stew was made according to what the home cook had on hand – what was growing in the garden or what was left in the root cellar.  Purists will argue that a real Irish stew consists only of mutton, onions and potatoes but the reality is that any combination of carrots, potatoes, celery, turnips, swedes, parsnips, leek, kale and cabbage are perfectly acceptable – and traditional – additions to an authentic Irish stew.   So by all means feel free to change up these vegetables but be sure to use mutton or lamb and keep the seasonings to a minimum.

Irish stew recipe authentic traditional lamb potatoes carrots parsnips onions

You may wonder how a stew will taste like much with only salt, pepper, parsley and/or bay leaf to season it.  The key is to use quality ingredients.  Grass-fed lamb has an incredible amount of flavor that well makes up for the lack of seasonings.  For vegetables, use the very best you can find.  Ireland grows some of the highest quality produce in the world.  Store-bought vegetables can never compare to the flavor of homegrown or those purchased from your local farmer’s market.

This is a very simple stew to prepare but it requires patience for the long cooking time. Don’t be tempted to increase the heat for a faster cook time. Low and slow creates the very best flavor.

Irish stew recipe authentic traditional lamb potatoes carrots parsnips onions

I created this Irish stew in keeping with tradition, however I’ve taken two liberties to enhance the flavor by simply altering the method, not the ingredients: Browning the lamb and making a roux to add depth to the base broth – two deviations that are reflective of more modern adaptations of this very old dish but that hopefully won’t offend the purists.

Be sure to use starchy potatoes like Russets. They will break down during the cooking process and that is exactly what they’re supposed to do, thereby thickening the gravy. The addition of the roux, again a more contemporary addition, further thickens the stew while adding a tremendous amount of flavor.

Irish Stew Recipe

Let’s get started!

Heat some oil in a large pan and generously brown the lamb on all sides.  Be careful not to over-crowd the pan and work in batches as needed.  Transfer the lamb to a plate.

browning lamb in skillet

In the same skillet, melt the butter and add the flour.  Whisk together to combine and continue whisking for a few minutes or until the roux turns a rich brown color.

making roux with butter and flour

Add the broth, whisking continually.  Simmer until slightly thickened.  Set aside.

making roux

In a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven melt another tablespoon or two of butter over medium-high heat and add the vegetables.  Cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.

cooking vegetables in Dutch oven

Add the browned lamb, potatoes, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Pour in the beef broth.

Irish stew recipe authentic traditional lamb potatoes carrots parsnips onions

Stir to combine.

Place the pot on the middle rack of the oven pre-heated to 250 degrees F.  Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Irish stew recipe authentic traditional lamb potatoes carrots parsnips onions

Serve garnished with some chopped parsley.  Some crusty bread and/or a leafy green salad make the perfect accompaniment.  This stew is great for leftovers.

Enjoy!

Irish stew recipe authentic traditional lamb potatoes carrots parsnips onions

For more traditional recipes enjoyed throughout Ireland be sure to try our:

 

Irish stew recipe authentic traditional lamb potatoes carrots parsnips onions

Traditional Irish Stew

Kimberly Killebrew

This traditional Irish Stew is made with simple ingredients but the end result is an incredibly flavorful and robust stew that will nourish both body and soul.

Print Recipe

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 3 hrs

Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine Irish

Servings 6

Calories 546 kcal

Ingredients 

 

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb (from shoulder or neck) or mutton (e.g., shoulder or neck), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon oil or lard for frying
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large carrots , peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 ribs celery , sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 parsnip (or turnip or rutabaga), diced
  • 2 pounds starchy potatoes (e.g. Russets) , peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cups quality beef broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus extra for garnish

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.Heat some oil in a large pan and generously brown the lamb on all sides.  Be careful not to over-crowd the pan and work in batches as needed.  Transfer the lamb to a plate.In the same skillet, melt the butter and add the flour.  Whisk together to combine and continue whisking for a few minutes or until the mixture turns a rich brown color. Add the broth, whisking continually.  Simmer until slightly thickened.  Set aside.
  • In a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven melt another tablespoon or two of butter over medium-high heat and add the vegetables except for the potatoes.  Cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the browned lamb, potatoes, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Pour in the beef broth and stir to combine.Place the pot on the middle rack of the oven and cook, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.Serve garnished with some chopped parsley.  Some crusty bread and/or a leafy green salad make the perfect accompaniment.  This stew is great for leftovers.

Nutrition

Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 896mg | Potassium: 1332mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3692IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 4mg

Keyword Irish Stew, Lamb Stew

 



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