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Traditional Irish Lamb Stew Recipe

Updated on March 17, 2012

Irish Stew

Irish stew is one of a number of traditional Irish dishes. The main ingredient is lamb or mutton, but this is often accompanied by carrots, potatoes, onions and parsley.

Throughout history, Irish peasants have lived in severe poverty, and mutton became the main stew ingredient because it made the most sense, economically. Mutton comes from older sheep, and so the animals would no longer be producing as much wool or milk. Back then, people always attempted to get as much use from their animals as possible. They put off paying or trading for another sheep, cow or pig for as long as they could.

A Plate of Irish Stew
A Plate of Irish Stew | Source

Recipe for Irish Lamb Stew

On St. Patrick's Day, families sit down to a hearthy meal of Irish lamb stew all across the world. Prepare this stew for your family, or bring it as a gift to a St. Paddy's Day get-together. It's impossible to avoid falling in love with the rich flavourings of this dish.

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 2hours, 25 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Makes: 10 servings


1 1/2 pounds thick slices bacon (diced)

6 pounds boneless lamb shoulder (cut into 2 inch pieces)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 large onion (chopped)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1/2 cup water

4 cups beef stock

2 teaspoons white sugar

3 potatoes

2 large onions (cut to bite-size)

4 cups diced carrots)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 bay leaves

1 cup white wine

Traditional Irish Lamb Stew
Traditional Irish Lamb Stew | Source
Plate of Irish Stew
Plate of Irish Stew | Source


1. Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook the meat over a medium heat until it has browned evenly, then drain it, crumble it into small pieces, and set to one side.

2. Set the lamb in a large mixing bowl, along with the pepper, salt, and flour and toss the ingredients to ensure the meat is evenly coated, then brown the lamb in a frying pan with the bacon fat. Leave 1/4 cup of fat in the frying pan when you're done.

3. Sit the lamb in a large stock pot along with the chopped onion and the garlic and sauté them until the onions turn a golden colour.

4. Deglaze the frying pan with 1/2 cup of water and add the garlic blend, beef stock, sugar, and bacon pieces to the stock pot, then cover it and leave the ingredients to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

5. Add the potatoes, onions, carrots, thyme, bay leaves and wine to the pot, then reduce the heat and simmer the covered stew for 20 minutes.

Useful Equipment

Notes & Tips

-In step 5, check if the stew is fully cooked by tasting one of the vegetables. If it is tender, the meal is ready to serve.

-Serve piping hot by itself or with a side of soda bread.

-If 10 servings seems too much, simply half the ingredients and prepare as normal.

-Replace the wine with other alcoholic beverages such as cream sherry or Guinness if you wish.

-If you really want to bring out the flavour of this dish, prepare it a day in advance, then store it in the refrigerator. Reheat it in the oven at 300° for approximately 1 1/2 hours and serve.

-You may use frozen bone-in lamb stew meat in this dish, but be very careful of small bone fragments hidden in the lamb pieces.

-This stew is best served with Guinness or red wine.


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    • VendettaVixen profile image

      VendettaVixen 5 years ago from Ireland


      It is a lot, but we generally whip out this recipe when we've got company, so it could be the four in my household, plus three to five others. It's a definite crowd-pleaser, so it's good for those kinds of situations.

      Nice to hear from you, as always. Thanks a bunch for reading and commenting.

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      You must have a big family. That is a lot of stew.