Next Wednesday is St Patrick's Day! Lorraine is Irish, and I live in Ireland, so we both know the joys of a delicious bowl of Irish stew, and what better time to serve than on St Patrick's Day! Whether it's sunny or rainy where you are, you can't deny that the comfort of a warm bowl of stew is the best!
This recipe is taken from Donal Skehan, who is an incredible Irish chef!
The great thing about Irish stew is that, although it's traditional to just stick to the basic ingredients, you can absolutely add as many veggies as you like to really bulk up the nutritional value! People have added parsnips, turnip, leeks and cabbage! Feel free to go wild with the additions, or just stick to the basics like we did here.
Lamb is a source of protein. We need protein in order for our bodies to repair themselves, because different parts of the body are primarily made of protein, such as organs, hair, nails and eyes. Protein makes and repairs cells. It can also help fight infection, build and contract muscles, and keeps our bodily fluids in balance.
Since lamb is a red meat, it contains lots of iron. It is pretty common for women to have iron deficiencies as a result of menstruation, so ensuring that there is enough iron in the diet is important. We need iron because it binds the hemoglobin in our red blood cells to oxygen, which is then carried to our tissues.
When buying meat, whether it's from the grocery store or from the butchers, it should be stored and cooked in a clean, safe manner, in order to avoid cross contamination.
If you're buying your meat from the grocery store, there are a couple things to look out for. Firstly, make sure that there is a Safe Handling label on the package; this indicates that the meat was processed safely. Make sure the meat is tightly wrapped, and ensure you pick it up at the end of your grocery store trip so it can remain cold. If possible, ask for it to be bagged separately from other groceries in order to avoid cross contamination.
When storing your meat, make sure it's placed in the coldest part of your fridge, and ensure you use it within 3-4 days of purchase. You can also freeze your meat in freezer-safe wrapping.
When handling meat, make sure your hands are thoroughly cleaned and dried. Have a separate cutting board for meat, preferably a plastic one, as wood can absorb the bacteria even after it is washed. Use a clean, sharp knife when slicing in order to avoid any accidents.
The combo of celery, carrot and onion is known as a mirepoix, if you didn't know! It also looks like the Irish flag, which is pretty apt for this recipe!
Celery has an immense amount of fiber in it, which helps move food through the digestive tract and can lower your risk for colon cancer, as well as helping to curb obesity and diabetes. Celery also contains lots of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. It also contains vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin B6.
Carrots are known to be great for eyes because they're high in vitamin A. They also contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid which is converted into Vitamin A by the liver. Carotenoids can also maintain healthy skin and optimal immunity. They also contain polyphenols which contribute to the carrot's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disease. Carrots also contain lots of vitamin C.
I recommend using Irish butter in this recipe, specifically Kerrygold. Not only are you ensuring that you're using good quality, real butter, it's also Irish!
Preparation: 15 mins
Cook Time: 2 hours
Recipe by Donal Skehan
2-3 tablespoons oil
1kg lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm chunks
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3-4 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
1 bay leaf
4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 litre beef/lamb stock, or water
900g/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm/0.5 inch slices
2 tbsp Irish butter (Kerrygold is best)
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve
Place a large, oven-safe casserole pot over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and brown the lamb in 2-3 batches, ensuring they get a crust. This will leave some fond on the bottom of the pot which will add lots of flavor.
Once browned, set aside on a plate. They don't need to be cooked through.
Reduce the heat to medium and add some oil in the pot, then fry the onion, celery and carrot for 4-6 minutes until the onions have softened. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to get some of the fond.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Return the meat to the pot. Add the bay leaf and stock/water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add the
Layer the potato slices across the top of the stew. Add small dots of butter across the potatoes, then top with a final season of salt and pepper.
Cover the casserole pot and place in the oven for 1½ hours, then remove the lid and let cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes have gotten some color
Serve straight away or leave overnight in the fridge to develop the flavors, then reheat. Either way, serve with crusty bread in deep bowls. Enjoy!
Feel free to add any other veggies to bulk up the nutrition content!
You don't need to use stock if you don't want to. It will add extra flavor, but I made this with water and it was incredibly flavorful, so it's not necessary!