Big Batch: An Irishman’s Wife’s Slow-Cooked Irish Stew

Because what’s the good of an Irishman’s Wife, if she doesn’t have a good, easy, slow cooked Irish Stew recipe up her sleeve?

A winter staple. As I write this, it’s a freezing Sunday evening. Snow is falling, and we’re all hoping it settles so we can have a snow day tomorrow! 

I always serve this traditional lamb Irish stew with creamy mash potato or colcannon. Freshly baked sourdough or Irish soda bread smothered with smoked butter works a treat too. For me, slow-cooked stew is the ultimate comfort food. Yep, there is a lot of potato in this one, but if it were up to the Irishman in our house, there would be potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I have learned anything from being married to an Irishman, it’s that the Irish basically class potatoes as a food group!

a big bowl of slow-cooked Irish Stew

What you are going to love about this slow-cooked Irish lamb stew recipe

While it takes a few hours to cook, It’s a set-and-forget kind of dinner. Perfect for a lazy Sunday milling around the house. Once the prep is done, it’s in the oven for a good few hours of slow-cooking. Bonus… your house will smell AH-MAZ-ING!

This is a batch big enough for 6-8 people. It’s a good one to serve with a few friends around the table on a winter’s night with a few bottles of red wine. Or just keep it all for yourself. It will taste so much better on days 2, 3 & 4 – cook once and eat for days… hello meal prep superstar and rehashed midweek dinners!

It’s hearty with a capital “H”. We’re talking warm the cockles of your heart stuff.

What you need to get started

  • Vegetables – leek, brown onion, carrot, dutch carrots, potatoes, garlic. If the dutch carrot thing is a little fancy for your crew, just add another 2 carrots at the prep stage and omit them!

  • Fresh Herbs – thyme, flat leaf parsley, bay leaf

  • Lamb Shoulder – trimmed and cut roughly into 4cm chunks. Can’t get your hands on lamb shoulder? Try a slow-cooking cut of beef like beef cheeks or chuck steak for an Irish beef stew instead! We make both in our family depending on what’s available.

  • Beef Stock – some people prefer chicken stock when making Irish stew. There’s a bit of debate over what is best but I sit on the beef stock side of the fence. Feel free to substitute if it’s more to your liking.

  • Worcestershire sauce. The essential ingredient to a traditional Irish stew. There is no substitution!

  • Pantry staples – olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Equipment you will need

When it comes to what to cook a traditional stew in, nothing beats cast iron. I love my cast iron pots (we have a relationship!). Most of my cookware is Le Creuset enameled cast iron, although I do own a smattering of other brands too like Chasseur, Lodge & Staub. This stuff is the bomb for slow cooking, however, it just hates high heat and so to render that fat, good and proper in the recipe, I use a frypan for this step in the recipe. If you use a seasoned cast iron Dutch oven instead of enameled cast iron French oven, feel free to skip this step. Don’t know the difference? Pop over here to find out all about it!

Could you cook this Irish stew in a slow cooker? Instant pot, crock pot, or pressure cooker? Absolutely! Cooking times obviously need to be adjusted for each cooking vessel, but if slow cooker Irish stew is more your thing, then go for it!

How to slow cook lamb stew in the oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°c.


  2. In a large, cast iron pot, combine olive oil, leek & onion. Cook on the stovetop on low heat till softened (about 10 minutes). Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute and stir through. In a hot frypan, seal the meat. Turn once and seal the other side (usually about 1 minute on each side) This will need to be done in stages. Don’t overcrowd the pan. We’re sealing in all the goodness and rendering any fat on the outside! And don’t ignore those browned bits on the base of the pan. Scape them up and add to the next step. It’s all flavour!

  3. Combine the sealed lamb into the onion/leek pot. Add the beef stock, large carrot, and herbs. Over medium heat, bring to simmer point on top of the stove, then pop in the oven (lid on) for 3 hours.

  4. Remove from oven. Add the baby potatoes and dutch baby carrots.

  5. Pop back in the oven for a further 30 mins. Remove from the oven again. Taste test and make sure that the lamb is falling apart.

  6. Stir through the Worcestershire sauce and season with salt/pepper.

How to serve up Irish Stew

I generally serve up my Irish stew in a big bowl with a side of colcannon or creamy mash and a slice of Irish brown bread or my bacon, chive and cheese soda bread, slathered with butter. This is a big batch recipe so we eat it over a few days.

A good smattering of finely chopped fresh parsley also lends itself a bit of freshness on top of the finished dish!

Have leftovers and want to rehash it for another night’s dinner?

To mix things up, try popping any leftover stew into a pie dish and top with a layer of puff pastry. Bake and serve with steamed vegetables. In Winter, it also makes a cracking soup. Just increase the amount of stock in the recipe and you’ll have a hearty homemade lunch for days. Heaven on a cold day.

Can I freeze it for another time?

A big YES!!! This one freezes perfectly and tastes just as good as a just-out-of-the-oven stew. I portion them into meals for 3 (our family size) and pop them into the freezer when completely cool. It’s also a good idea to make a few lunch size portions for a ready-made weekday work lunch! It’s an easy one to reheat on those cold days when you just don’t feel like cooking.

Love slow-cooking? Here are a few more of my slow-cooked recipes…

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Irish Stew in a bowl

An Irishman’s Wife’s Slow-Cooked Irish Stew

  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 people 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: slow-cook
  • Cuisine: Irish

Description

Because what’s the good on an Irishman’s wife if she doesn’t have a good Irish Stew recipe up her sleeve?


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 Leek (finely sliced)
  • 1 Brown Onion (finely sliced)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (crushed)
  • 1.2 kg Lamb Shoulder (cut into 4cm cubes)
  • 1 carrot (large)
  • 1 l Beef Stock
  • 1 bunch Dutch Carrots (trimmed)
  • 6 baby potatoes (or 3 larger potatoes cut in half)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Sprigs Thyme
  • Sprigs Parsley (flat leaf )
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Sea Salt Flakes
  • Pepper (freshly ground)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 150°c.
  2. In a large, cast iron pot, combine olive oil, leek & onion. Cook on the stovetop on a low heat till softened (about 10 minutes). Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute and stir through. In a hot frypan, seal the lamb chunks. Turn once and seal the other side (usually about 1 minute on each side) This will need to be done in stages. Don’t overcrowd the pan. We’re sealing in all the goodness and rendering any fat on the outside! 
  3. Combine the sealed lamb into the onion/leek pot. Add the beef stock, large carrot, and herbs. Bring to simmer point on top of stove, then pop in the oven (lid on) for 2.5 hours.
  4. Remove from oven. Add the baby potatoes, and dutch baby carrots.
  5. Pop back in the oven for a further 30 mins. Remove from the oven again. Taste test and make sure that lamb is falling apart.
  6. Stir through the worcestershire sauce and season with salt/pepper.


Notes

Irish Stew is a bit different from many other slow-cooked stews as it’s not required to reduce the broth into a gravy-like sauce. Broth is best people! Irish stew could be described as being more of a chunky soup if you will!? For me, it’s just perfect, but if a gravy sauce is more your thing, just reduce the broth on top of the stove by simmering (lid off) after removing it from the oven until you get the desired consistency. Alternatively, try adding a peeled potato with the carrot at the prep stage. Before adding the baby potatoes, remove the potato, mash thoroughly and stir back through. It will thicken things up a little and give you a more gravy-like consistency.

You may wonder why I didn’t nix the frypan and just one pot cook the whole thing. You actually can. The reason I don’t is that I love my cast iron pot (we have a relationship!). Most of my cookware is Le Creuset enameled cast iron. This stuff is the bomb for slow cooking, however, it just hates high heat and I really wanted to render that fat good and proper! 

Keywords: Dinner, lamb, slow cooked, stew

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