There are not many recipes that start with "I", but noticing turnips in the veggie shed, I decided on Irish Stew. This is based on Stephanie Alexander's recipe, but with a few additions. It is a very easy stew to make. We didn't ever brown the tops of the potatoes and we always had carrots, swede and parsnip, never turnip. The turnip I used is quite mild and not a vegetable to be afraid of. I think mum may even have added a splash or Worcestershire Sauce.
The very best part of eating Irish Stew when I was at home, was the end of the meal, when everyone had a nice thick slice of crusty white bread and we laid in on our plates and sopped up all the juices. Then you cut it up into little squares with your knife and fork and savoured each delicious square. I plan on doing that tomorrow!!
My little casserole is only 2 litres ( 3-ish pints) so I just made half the recipe. At home we always used forequarter chops. I think they were cheap!! It is important to use lamb with bones. Two Tooth is suggested but it's hard to find old lamb or young mutton.
You can cook this stew in a variety of ways: in a cast-iron casserole on the stove top, in a large saucepan on the stove top, and then in a casserole dish of any kind in the oven. It takes the same amount of time to cook. I browned in a fry pan and then baked in the oven.
Irish Stew serves 4
- 8 - 10 lamb neck or shoulder chops
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbspn butter
- 1 tbspn vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- 2 large turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 carrots*, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 parsnips*, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 small swede*, peeled and cut into chunks
- 4 small onions, peeled and halved
- 6 waxy potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
- 2-3 cups water or chicken stock. Who has lamb stock?
- 1 sprig thyme, or dried thyme
- 4-5 stalks of parsley
- small amount of chopped parsley for garnish
* Optional extras
Preheat the oven to 170*C.
Season the lamb well, on both sides, with salt and pepper. Melt the butter and oil over a medium high heat and then brown the lamb on both sides. Place on a plate. Turn the temperature down to low, add the sliced onions and fry till golden brown and soft. Pour off any excess fat if you are using the same casserole. If you are going to transfer the meat and vegetables to a casserole dish, heat the stock to boiling now.
Add the boiling stock ( or bring the casserole to the boil on the stove top) adding the parsley stalks and thyme (mine is dried flakes) so that it comes just to the level of the potatoes. Bake or simmer on the stove for 90 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender when prodded with a skewer. If they are not ready, cook for another 15 minutes and tests again.
Return to the oven or place under the grill for 10-15 minutes if you prefer the potatoes to be browned on top.
Spoon meat and vegetables into a bowl, sprinkle with parsley and at the end, sop up the delcious juices with some bread. This reheats extremely well the next day, but doesn't freeze very well at all.