In preparation for St Paddy’s Day I decided to make a traditional Irish stew. This is probably one of my favourite meals, perfect comfort food for a cold night. Even though it’s spring and we’ve been blessed with some sunshine, we’re still experiencing some cold clear evenings so a big bowl of stew is completely justified.
Some people will make stew using stewing beef or mince meat but to me it isn’t proper Irish stew unless you’ve used a slow cooked cut of lamb (traditionally you would use mutton but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this available to buy). I opted for lamb shanks because I managed to pick up a packet in the reduced aisle of the super market. With so many variations of Irish Stew you can throw in all sorts of veg but to keep it simple I only use five ingredients, lamb, potatoes, onion, carrot and rosemary. There’s no need to ‘sex it up’ with other flavours and ingredients.
To feed four you will need:
Two lamb shanks
two large onions
6 large maris piper potatoes, peeled and chopped in to quarters
7 carrots, peeled and chopped
a handful of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to season
brown sauce to serve
Begin by browning the meat and onions in a large pot with some olive oil. Once these are browned, fill the pot three quarters of the way with water and leave for an hour and a half on a high heat. Once the time is up add the potatoes, carrots and rosemary and turn down the heat. You may need to add a little more water at this point but it depends on your desired thickness for the stew. I like mine quite thick and mashed through.
After half an hour check the tenderness of the lamb. The meat should be falling off the bone and all the fat rendered down. If this is not the case cook for slightly longer.
Once the meat is tender, take out the shanks and remove the meat. You may need to chop it in to bite sized chunks even if it is pulling away from the bone. Add the meat back to the pot, stir and serve. Some of the potatoes should have mashed up slightly, creating a thick and creamy stew.
I love brown sauce on my stew but be careful and ensure its gluten free as some brands contain malt vinegar. A slice of wheaten bread also goes down a treat but I couldn’t find a GF alternative so I would suggest you bake your own (I was eager to do this but was stuck for time today).
Now if only Guinness would do a gluten free stout and then we could all have a perfect St Paddy’s Day. A girl can dream.