Wow, I can’t believe it’s already March! Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, I’ll be sharing a few recipes over the next couple of weeks that you may want to use for your celebration of Ireland’s patron saint, which is usually characterized by parades, the wearing of the green, shamrocks and lots of drinking. If you drink, then you need to eat – I promise you will thank me the next day.
When I visited Ireland in the late 1990s my friend Lee and I loved to stop by little pubs and try out their wonderful soups and stews, not to mention the great bread that accompanied them. Pair that with a Guinness (because Guinness is good for you) and voilà – instant comfort food!
This recipe is for a hearty Irish stew made with lamb (or beef, if you prefer) and Guinness – did I mention that it is good for you?
I like to make this stew in a slow cooker so I can leave it to cook on its own once everything is in the pot. When the stew is ready, it has the consistency of a rich soup that you may want to eat with a spoon or else sop up the liquid with some good, crusty bread. If you have leftovers (which freeze well, by the way), the stew thickens up some after being refrigerated, so break out your fork instead and dig in. Either way – yum!
- 2 ½ lbs. boneless lamb sirloin, cubed (use stew beef if you prefer)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 small turnips, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 sweet onion, quartered
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 5 cloves garlic, whole
- 2-3 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
- 4 cups (32 oz.) beef stock
- 1 can (14.9 oz.) Guinness Draught beer (2 cans if you want to drink one while you’re making this, which is recommended)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt (I used Penzeys 4S), to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon cold water
- 2 cups frozen green peas
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the lamb (I usually do this in a couple of batches), sprinkle with salt and brown – a couple of minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Place the lamb and potatoes, turnips, onion, carrots, celery, parsley, garlic and bay leaves in the slow cooker. Add the Guinness and the beef stock. Place the rosemary sprigs on top.
Cook on high for 2 hours and then change the setting to low and cook for 5-6 hours. I usually remove the rosemary when I switch the temperature to low.
When you are about ready to serve, mix the cornstarch with ¼ cup of water. Add this to the stew and cook for ½ hour or so, at the high setting. Add the green peas at the very end – they will cook quickly in the hot liquid.
Serve with crusty bread and a glass of good red wine (or a Guinness, since it is good for you.)
By the way, if you love lamb, check out my previous post “Lamb Two Ways: Grilled Loin Chops and Greek-inspired Pita Pizzas.”
Eat, drink and be merry!