St. Patrick's Day is coming up next week, so here's a traditional recipe to whip up to help you celebrate.
A filling, flavorful peasant dish made with the cheapest, most readily available ingredients, Irish stew reflects the history of Ireland itself. The Irish raised primarily sheep and root crops for subsistence. The sheep provided wool for warm clothing, milk for drinking and cheese making, and eventually, meat after the animal reached the end of its productive years. Potatoes were the main food crop, prior to the potato famine. An 1800s ballad celebrated the homey satisfaction of a hot bowl: "Then hurrah for an Irish stew / That will stick to your belly like glue."
Pub-Style Irish Stew
Recipe courtesy American Lamb Board
4 lbs American Lamb, boneless shoulder, diced into ¾-inch pieces
3 oz clarified butter
2 pints Irish red ale
2 pints lamb stock
Ingredients for roux
2 oz clarified butter
2 oz flour
1 lb turnips, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
1 lb red potatoes, diced into ½-inch pieces
1 lb baby carrots, pared
1 lb pearl onions, peeled
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup green onion, finely sliced
Irish soda bread or other hearty loaf Slices
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter. Add lamb; cook until browned . Drain off any excessive amounts of rendered fat. Deglaze with ale; simmer for 3 minutes. Add lamb stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer gently 1-1/2 hours until meat is fork tender.
- Mix roux of butter and flour; stir slowly into hot stew and simmer 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add turnips, potatoes, carrots and onions; simmer 10 more minutes.
- To serve: Spoon lamb stew into bowls. Garnish with a liberal sprinkling of chopped parsley and green onion. Serve with warm slices of Irish soda bread.