I became a lamb convert the moment my lips tasted Irish stew in a pub in Kilkenney, Ireland. I’d been studying abroad in London for the past few months when a few friends and I took a weekend bus tour through southern parts of the Emerald Isle, and whoa if I be a Leprechaun’s uncle, that stew was the best damn thing my hoof-and-mouth-and-mad-cow-wary self ate in those 16 weeks abroad.
It would be years though, before I’d taste again anything similar to that magical concoction. Irish stews I’d find on menus in restaurants in the U.S. tended to be stews made from cabbage and corned beef, which begs the question, isn’t that just corned beef and cabbage then? (Which, incidentally, is going to be dinner tonight. I love a meal I can boil.)
I’ve made this with only a few minor changes for health (I really think a pound and a half of bacon and 6 pounds of lamb is excessive for my heart health, as delicious as I’m sure it would be), and one for flavor (Guinness!) Ok, and so I also cut the recipe in half because I just don’t think I actually have a pot big enough to hold this much stew! So before I ramble on more, here’s the recipe:
Irish Lamb Stew
- 1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon, diced
- 1.5 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped, divided
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1 large onions, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 medium-sized potatoes, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaves
- 1 cup Guinness Stout
- Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
- Put lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in large mixing bowl. Toss to coat meat evenly. Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat.
- Place meat into stock pot (leave 1/4 of fat in frying pan). Add the garlic and 1/2 yellow onion and saute till onion begins to become golden. Deglaze frying pan with 1/2 cup water and add the garlic-onion mixture to the stock pot with bacon pieces, beef stock, and sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
- Add carrots, onions, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves, onion, and beer to pot. Reduce heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
I made this stew last night and am looking forwad to what remains of leftovers for lunch, because this is also the kind of dish that gets better overnight, if it lasts that long.