How to Make a Traditional Irish Stew
My maternal grandmother taught me how to cook. She was the one who woke my interest in food and in taking the time to prepare a meal properly with attention paid to details.
She looked after me while my mother was at work and as the neighbourhood where I spent my first years had few children I spent a lot of time with her. Being with grandma or nanny meant spending time in the kitchen
She was born Eliza Jane Drury and while she was born in Canada she always honoured her Irish roots.
Saint Patrick's Day was celebrated each year around home and Irish stew was often the main meal on that day. The tradition continued for many years after my nanny passed on.
I still make a version today but as lamb where I live is both hard to find and costly I usually use beef. The recipe below is a lamb stew and is very close to the recipe my grandmother used. She never wrote it down but I watched and helped her make it on a number of occasions.
Traditional Irish Stew:
1- 500 g boneless lean lamb leg steaks, trimmed of visible
fat and each steak cut into 4 pieces
2- 1 kg potatoes, peeled, sliced thick
3- 1 large onion, sliced
4- 500 g carrots, thickly sliced
5- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley (for garnish)
6- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
7- 1 3⁄4 cups vegetable stock
8- ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC).
- In a large casserole dish, make layers of the lamb, potatoes, onion and carrots, sprinkling each layer with parsley, chives and pepper.
- Finish with a layer of potatoes, and then pour over the stock.
- Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven to cook for about 2 hours or until both the meat and vegetables feel tender when tested with a skewer.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400ºF (200ºC).
- Remove the casserole lid and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the potatoes on top are golden-brown and crisp.
- Garnish and serve.
The aroma from this dish will help set the mood for celebrating Saint Patrick’s day with family and friends. This year I plan to make a special effort to find lamb so that I can make this dish to celebrate both Saint Patrick’s Day and my grandmother who taught me so much.
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