Friday, 13 January 2012

Irish Stew

I haven't had a lamb stew for a long time and decided that it would good to make an Irish stew and as usual I did some scanning on the internet to see what recipes were out there. Just like, spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne there are a lot of different versions.

So, I spoke to a friend of my mine, Brian, whose mum is Irish, and he said that most things can go into the dish. He mentioned this was a ‘poor dish,’ and whatever was in the house was used. As it's cooked for a long time the cheaper parts such as neck of the lamb was used. I told him about a recipe I found from an Irish cook, who used red wine and my friend almost laughed his head off. As he mentioned no one in his mum’s family would have had or used red wine. He would have understood if a dark ale or Guinness was used but not red wine, but as he said, that is progress.

I am not saying that there is a right or wrong way, but I am not using red wine and trying to keep the recipe as basic as possible.

  • 2tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 500g lamb
  • 3tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 300g swede, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 large potato, chopped (a waxy potato is best)
  • 1 litre of beef stock

  • 100g self raising flour
  • 50g shredded suet
  • 2-3tbsp of cold water (maybe more depending how you like your dumplings)
  • salt and pepper to season

Put the flour and salt and pepper, in a bowl then mix in the lamb and stir, so that the lamb is coated.

Put the vegetable oil into a pan and bring to a high heat. Dust off the excess flour from the lamb. Add the lamb to the oil, a few pieces at a time and cook until slightly browned. Take out the lamb and put to one side. Continue to brown the lamb in batches.

Once all the lamb has been browned, turn down the heat and add the onions and cook for a few minutes, stirring to ensure the onions do not burn.

Add the swede, carrots, leeks and stir all together. Add the lamb and stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to its lowest setting and simmer gently for 2-3 hours.

For the dumplings put the flour, suet and seasoning into a bowl and add enough water to make a firm dough. Make the dough into balls (about the size of a walnut) and add to the stew. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked.

Slowcooker - If you are using a slowcooker, brown off the lamb and then place all of the ingredients into the slowcooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables

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