It has been a super rainy week here in Northern California and all I have been wanting to do is stay home, curl up in bed, watch Downton Abbey (have you guys started watching that show? It is fantastic!!), and have a big bowl of this stew! If you are looking for something other than corned beef and cabbage for your St. Patrick’s Day dinner… This. Is. It!
Have you guys done much cooking with lamb? If you haven’t, try it! It has a really great flavor that is very different than beef. I am so lucky because my grandparents butcher their own meat. So, every time I go home they let me raid the freezer and I bring home pounds of the best beef, lamb, and pork in the whole world! I made this stew with some and Ginny and Papa’s fantastic lamb…but if you aren’t lucky enough to have your own grandparents/meat suppliers you can get good quality lamb stew meat at your butcher or grocery store.
Before seasoning your lamb, Ginny says to cut off any excess fat. You can leave a little bit on, but remove any big chunks. Ginny says this helps with the flavor, and when Ginny tells you to do something, you listen! So cut the extra fat off people! Then season lamb with lots of salt and pepper. Then toss the lamb in 2-3 tablespoons of flour and toss to coat.
Preheat your stew pot (I used a big Le Creuset) over medium high heat until very hot. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Sear the lamb cubs on all sides until brown. You’ll do this in batches, probably 2 or 3, so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Add additional olive oil for second and third batches if necessary. When the pieces are browned, remove and set aside.
Next up, prepare your veggies.
Add a tablespoon of oil to your pot and throw in the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Ginny says any lamb stew recipe without garlic isn’t a lamb stew recipe so I used tons in mine!
As your veggies soften, it’s time for the fun part!
Who doesn’t love cooking with wine? Not only the awesome flavor it adds, but…it practically means you have to have a glass while cooking!
Ok, after a few sips, add in the beef broth and throw the lamb back in. Cover partially and leave to cook for 60 to 90 minutes. You go sit on the couch, grab a book, or kick your husband’s butt in a game of rummy <—- my choice! Just don’t forget the bottle of wine!
After an hour or so it is time to add the potatoes. Roughly chop about 8 red potatoes and toss them in. You’re also going to toss in a few big bunches of thyme. If you want to bundle them with kitchen twine you can, but my sprigs were so big I knew I would be able to pick them out later so I didn’t bother wit the twine. Cover, open a new bottle of wine if necessary and relax for another hour or so.
When the delicious smell of stewed lamb and veggies, and beef stock is just about to the point where you can’t handle it anymore, uncover, remove the thyme sprigs…
…and serve up a steaming hot bowl of stew. The lengthy cooking time allows the flavors to blend and develop so nicely. The lamb flavor really pops out and the beef stock and wine combined with the flour and starch from the potatoes make a rich, silky, delicious broth. Serve up with some crusty bread or get festive with some Irish Soda Bread! This stew is fantastic the day you make it but even better the next, so don’t hesitate to double up with leftovers!
Irish Lamb Stew
- 2 pounds lamb stew meat, extra fat removed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 2 cups diced celery
- 8 red potatoes, chopped
- 2 big bunches fresh thyme
- 1 cup red wine
- Put lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in large mixing bowl. Toss to coat meat evenly. Brown meat in heavy bottomed pot with olive oil. Brown meat in batched and set aside.
- Heat oil in the same pot. Add the chopped veggies and garlic, cook 5 minutes. Deglaze pot with red wine. Add beef stock and lamb. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Add potatoes and fresh thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook partially covered for 60 minutes until vegetables are very tender.