Big Batch: An Irishman’s Wife’s Irish Stew

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Because what’s the good of an Irishman’s Wife, if she doesn’t have a good, simple, 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 Irish lamb stew with creamy mash potato or colcannon. Freshly baked sourdough 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 being married to an Irishman, it’s that the Irish basically class potatoes are as a food group!

a big bowl of slow-cooked Irish Stew

What you need to get started

  • Vegetables – leek, brown onion, carrot, dutch carrots, potatoes, garlic

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

  • Lamb Shoulder – trimmed and cut roughly into 4cm chunks

  • Beef Stock

  • Pantry staples – Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, sea salt, pepper

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 seasoned cast iron instead of enameled cast iron, feel free to skip this step.

The details…

  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 3 hours.
  4. Remove from oven. Remove mushy carrot (you’ve used all its good flavour) and 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.

TIP: Make enough to keep you going a couple of days. Stew always tasted better on days 2 and 3. 

How to serve up Irish Stew

I generally serve up my Irish stew with a side of colcannon or creamy mash and a slice of Irish brown bread, slathered with butter. This is a big batch recipe so we eat it over a few days. 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. Heaven on a cold day.

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 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
  • 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. Remove mushy carrot (you’ve used all its good flavour) and 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

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! 

If you prefer more of a sauce than a broth, try adding a potato with the large carrot. Instead of discarding like the carrot, remove the potato, mash thoroughly and stir back through. It will thicken things up a little and give you a more gravy like consistancy.

Keywords: Dinner, lamb, slow cooked, stew

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