Monday, March 10, 2008

Irish Stew

This dish is the Irish version of Jewish Pennicilin (or chicken soup). It will cure what ails ya. It is very simple, so simple that it really does not tolerate a lot of dressing up or innovation.

I do many simple recipes. Here's the thing though. Simplicity demands perfection. Do these simple things perfectly and the result will be as dramatic as the long and involved three day process dishes.


2lbs boneless leg of lamb, well trimmed and cut into 1/2" cubes
small amount of olive oil
1 3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed (red or new potatoes will do, I go with cheap in the bulk bag russets)
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into chunks (remove the strings first you barbarian)
3 large leeks, white portion only, halved and washed, sliced very thin
2 cups lamb stock (use low sodium chicken stock if you don't have lamb stock)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
salt (kosher or sea salt is best)
fresh ground pepper
coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Brown the lamb meat in the olive oil in a separate skillet. Drain well. Add all the ingredients except the salt, pepper, and parsley in a slow cooker. Set the cooker to low and walk away. After about two hours add in the salt and pepper to taste. When the lamb meat is fork tender (about 4 hours in my crockpot) it's ready. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley when the bowls are ladled.

Serve with soda bread or lots of crackers.

This is even better the next day.


Expect the soda bread recipe soon.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT, but I've noticed before that if you take the green leafstalk portion of a fennel "bulb" (aka "fennuchi") and semi-thinly slice it crosswise the fibers don't matter, and you can use it in your dish just as well as the bulb itself (provided the green color's not a problem for the dish, of course). It has much the appearance of celery, but with the fennel flavor.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

red or new potatoes will do, I go with cheap in the bulk bag russets

Housemate & I have a polite difference of opinion about the potatoes to use in such an instance (stews, soups, etc.) He doesn't like "wax" potatoes, and in this sort of dish I don't like russets. I hate the way they get mushy, and he prefers that. If he's cooking he uses russets & I don't complain. Likewise if I'm cooking I use Yukon Golds (intermediate between russets & the waxy ones) & he doesn't complain.

The last time I made beef stew I used two potatoes, the first one was a russet, and I added it early, crushing all the cubes I could find once they were soft so that the potato starch could thicken the broth. Then for the "real" potatoes of the stew about one hour into the cooking I added a cubed Yukon Gold, which then simmered for another hour.

Worked pretty well.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(fenucchi, not fennuchi)

(Word verification is "qkcdzqza", a pinky workout if ever there was one.)

11:35 AM  
Blogger maurinsky said...

I can't wait to make this. I was always puzzled at whole corned beef & cabbage thing for St. Patrick's day, because in my family, special occasions warranted leg of lamb, and leftovers were used for a quickie stew the next day.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

oh i love lamb. so, i love lamb stew.
i make a really good lamb spagetti sauce. they had a lot of sheep in the region of italy my grandparents were from, olives, sheep and figs.

gotta have bread for stew tho. macaroni, nope, but stew, oh my yes.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Old Dominion Blue said...

Yummy, thanks a bunch. I'm trying this before the weather gets too warm.

2:01 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

I gotta try this one!

I take it that I can halve the ingredients for a 2 quart slow cooker rather than a 4 quart slow cooker? As a bachelor living thousands of miles from family, cooking up giant batches of anything doesn't work for me...


4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

badtux, that's one of the nice things about stew recipes. They're usually extremely easy to convert, sizewise. Often you can also susbtitute one veggie for another to suit your tastes.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

badtux: you can always freeze leftovers, too.

MB: thanks for the reminder of a wonderful dish which I will make this week.

7:36 PM  
Blogger somewaterytart said...

I can't stand lamb. Could I make this with another meat?

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be making this Saturday, I think. I'm going to a potluck, and I think it'll be a hit.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't stand lamb. Could I make this with another meat?

I'd be surprised if you couldn't make this with beef. I've never made a lamb stew, but I've made very nice beef stews. Aside from the meat the only other change to the recipe that I can see would be using beef stock instead of lamb stock (but as noted, low sodium chicken stock will do in a pinch). I like using a low sodium stock of whatever sort since that gives me more freedom as to how to salt the stew.

Not being Irish (that I know of for certain) I can't testify as to the authenticity of using beef instead of lamb, but I suspect it wouldn't be a problem. Certainly substituting beef will make a fine beef stew, regardless of whether it's authentically "Irish stew" or not. Just buy 2 lbs. of stewing beef at your grocery store/butcher.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i make a really good lamb spagetti sauce. they had a lot of sheep in the region of italy my grandparents were from, olives, sheep and figs.

Recipe - pretty please??? :-)

6:19 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i replied by email to tart. the substitution of beef is best done using one of the tighter fibered cuts like a top round. i have never much liked the stuff they sell as stew meat. preferring to cut it myself.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

So I was going to make the corned beef, which we both know is American, but now I think I'll try this stew. I had a good stew last year at the Salthill Pub in New Hampshire, just before going to see the Saw Doctors.

7:28 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

here's the irish corned beef connection. irish beef has always been a prized commodity. the pastureland and the climate of ireland have always been prime beef territory. during the years of the great migrations (like the potato famine of the 40s) the beef of ireland was being shipped, it fed the british army, and the irish rail workers in america. the paddies on the railway would always be surprised that after being driven from their homes by starvation, they would be fed irish food in the new county. it was 'corned' (salted and canned) beef.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

i use tomato puree.
i brown the lamb in a heavy pot with a bit of olive oil and sea salt or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. rosemary and garlic and italian flat leave parsley.(you can add red pepper flakes if you want) i have no measurements. we never measured, sorry.

the rosemary and garlic and the salt and pepper flavor the lamb.

i cook it for about 4 hours, til the lamb is tender and flavors the sauce. when that happens i add a bit more parsley and rosemary and pepper and a small handful (i have small hands so i'm guess a 3rd of a cup?)

of freshly grated locatelli romano cheese. i like the sheep's milk cheese much better than has a bite to it.

you can serve it over any pasta(here, in pittsburgh,we call anything that isn't a type of spagetti, macaroni)or
spagetti. i prefer angel hair myself.

it's simple, but simple can be delicious. it's my pop pop's recipe.

i miss him a lot.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What cut of lamb do you use and what do you do with it before it goes into the pan (grind it, cut it in cubes, what)?

How finely do you chop the rosemary before adding it?

8:44 AM  
Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

geezz just lost the whole thing i typed!

anyway, i use leg mostly, tho it's a calabrese peasant sauce and so any chunks o lamb that come cheap will do. that's what we always did.

all of the herbs are rough cut, just be careful not to burn the garlic, gets bitter.

my fave sauce tho, is the same deal only using country style pork spare ribs cut into 2 inch or so pieces and add fresh or dried(if fresh isn't to be found)basil.

put that on some rotini or other bulky macaroni, heaven!

9:59 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

for things like a pasta sauce i have always liked necks. the meat is incredibly tender and the bone (pick out late) gives it great flavor and texture.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Housemate doesn't care for lamb, but I will store this info. away for future consideration, to be used when he's out of town. I can buy NZ lamb shanks for not much $$. A few of them, stripped, the meat chopped in pieces, and a hammer taken to the shanks (only big pieces added to the sauce, and only after browning in a pan or roasting in the oven for a bit) ought to do the trick..... :-)

3:07 PM  
Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

when my mom was little sometimes they used chicken necks in sauce. there are a few recipes for gizzards too.

i used to fish the chicken gizzards and the hearts from the soup pot and eat them when i was little. i haven't thought about that in ages.

6:30 PM  
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11:23 PM  

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