Featured Recipe - Irish Stew|
by Wen Zientek-Sico
For my family, stew is serious comfort food. During the fall and winter (which lasts forever in Upstate New York) we have stew almost every week. While we do occasionally have beef or chicken stew, lamb stew is by far our favorite.
Irish Lamb Stew
We can always find lamb cheap locally and we all really love the flavor and tenderness of the meat. Stew meat is traditionally used because of the convenience of eating, but other cuts also work well and are usually cheaper. They just require eating with a fork and knife when serving. This recipe is a very simple stew with an Irish pedigree that has remained the same for hundreds of years. The only change we have made is to usually use olive oil in place of bacon fat for browning the meat and onions. There are many substitutions and different additions to this stew that work well. To keep an Irish theme, whiskey or Guinness can be used in place of some of the stock or broth. Fresh or dried herbs like savory, rosemary, thyme, or marjoram make a great addition.
1/2 cup flour
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 pounds lamb (stew meat, chops, or blade cuts)
2 tablespoons bacon fat or favorite cooking oil
3 medium onions, quartered
3 cups lamb, beef, or chicken stock or broth
6 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups baby carrots
2 medium parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
Heat a large heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the fat or cooking oil to the pan. Mix together the flour, salt, and pepper in a flat bowl or plate. Dredge the lamb in the flour mixture and brown in the hot fat. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside (on the flour bowl/plate is fine). Add the onions to the pan and brown lightly. Add the lamb and any remaining flour to the pan and toss to coat with the fat. Add the stock and cook for 1 hour. Add the potatoes, carrots, and parsnips and cook for 45 minutes. If a thicker stew is desired, add more flour to thicken to taste and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Stew can be cooled, refrigerated for up to 3 days, and reheated before serving at this point.
Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes