Warm your belly with a hearty stew this winter. I would like to suggest a rendition of the traditional Irish Stew. The recipe is said to have existed for centuries, and originally it consisted of 4 primary ingredients: neck mutton chops, potatoes, onions, and water. Today, many variations of this dish exist. Should you try to discuss the topic of what goes into making a true Irish Stew with a native of Ireland, it can be a sticky subject. If you decide to substitute beef in place of the mutton or splash some Guinness into the pot for additional flavor, be aware that many Irish will inform you that while you have indeed prepared a stew, it would not be considered Irish Stew.
So, the rebel that I am, I am going to deviate from the original recipe. To put a North American spin on preparing this meal, I have modified the directions so that a crock pot can be used instead of simmering the stew in a large pot on the stove top.
Yield: 6 servings Use: a 6 quart crock pot
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs boneless lamb meat (cubed)
4 large carrots (peeled and sliced)
8 white round potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 medium onions (chopped)
2 26-ounce containers of beef stock
¬Ω tsp of ground black pepper
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Once the oil is hot, place the lamb in the pan and brown both sides of each piece. While the meat is cooking, this is a good time to put the carrots and potatoes in the crock pot. Then, once the lamb is ready, add it to the crock pot.
Pour the beef stock into the crock pot and then mix in the onions.
Set the crock pot on low and let it cook for 6 hours.
I would suggest serving this dish with a side of Irish soda bread and for a beverage, a glass of Guinness only seems appropriate. This is a great recipe to make on a frigid, winter day. Warm your hands around your big ceramic bowl of stew before sitting down for the meal, and imagine traveling to Ireland where you will be able to taste a variety of Irish Stews. Below is an old Irish ballad (circa 1800) to read and set the mood when the time arises to book your flights to Ireland.
Some like herrings red from the ocean, And some like a bit of pig’s fry; Some like oxtail soup, I’ve a notion, While others like a pudding and pie. For all sorts of stomachs there are dainties, But the best feed between I and you, Is some mutton with onions and potatoes, Made into a real Irish Stew, Then hurrah for an Irish Stew, That will stick to your belly like glue; The sons of St. Patrick for ever, And three cheers for a real Irish stew.