Traditional Irish Stew

Irish Stew

Irish Stew

Phot by Carol, Flickr commons

Some Irish folks proclaim that Ireland’s national dish is Irish stew. A traditional Irish stew was always made with mutton, but more often nowadays, is made with lamb. Controversy reigns over whether vegetables other than potatoes should be added; adding onions, leeks and carrots not only adds extra flavor but also nutrition to the stew. The choice is yours.

Irish Stew is traditionally eaten on St Patrick’s Day as well as Samhain but seriously, it is far too good and is eaten all the time, after all it is Ireland’s National Dish.”
•    Here are the ingredients, “2 tbsp vegetable oil
•    1 lb/500g mutton or lamb cutlets (bone removed) cut into 2″/5cm chunks
•    2lb/ 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
•    1 cup/115g onion, roughly chopped
•    1 cup/ 100g leeks, cleaned and finely sliced
•    1 cup/170g carrots, roughly chopped
•    1½ pints / 750 ml dark beef stock
•    2 or 3 cabbage leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
•    Salt and Pepper”

According to metro.co.uk, “Great Irish stew is about superb ingredients (all that rain gives us brilliant pasture for meat and vegetables), simplicity and long proper cooking. Memories of the Irish stew of my childhood fuel my fervour today. Recalling the nostalgic flavours of the sweet carrots and onions, the tender potatoes and the lovely lamb, all lingering in a gorgeous simple broth.”

“You are using beef. No! Drop it and walk away. Irish stew is all about the lamb.”
“You are using diced lamb. Again, no. Lamb chops are what you want to use. You need those lovely bones to give your stew extra flavour. Alternatively, a good flavoursome cut that tastes better with long cooking, like neck, will do well too.”
“Brown the lamb chops over a medium heat in the dripping or some oil, and put to the side.
Saute the carrots and onions in the fat leftover from frying the meat. Return the lamb to the pot with the thyme and cover with water or lamb stock before leaving to boil for an hour or so.
Add the potatoes and continue to boil until soft.
Season to taste and serve with the parsley on top.”
•    Here are the ingredients, “1.5kg lamb chops (like Gigot chops)
•    1kg carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
•    1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into good size chunks
•    4 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
•    a sprig of thyme for cooking
•    chopped fresh parsley to garnish
•    sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to season
•    dripping (rendered from the excess fat on the chops or from your butcher), or some light oil for frying.”
According to  bbcgoodfood.com, “Make the stock. Put the lamb bones in a large heavy-based saucepan with the carrot, onion, celery, herbs, peppercorns and 1 tsp salt. Pour in 3 litres/5 1/4 pints water. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.”

Then, “Strain the stock through a fine sieve to remove bones and vegetables, then return to the pan. Boil until reduced to about 1.3 litres/21/4 pints. (You can make the stock the day before – keep it in a covered container in the fridge, or freeze it for up to 3 months.)”
And finally, “Make the stew. Cut the lamb into large chunks. Peel the potatoes (keeping both types separate) and cut into pieces of similar size to the meat. Put the two different types in separate bowls of water to keep them white. Peel the carrots and cut into slightly smaller pieces. Slice the onions into thick rings.”

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