With people’s busy schedules and the seemingly endless variety of options for dining out, fresh meal delivery services, and prepared meals packaged and waiting at most grocery stores, home cooking seems to be losing its luster. Between working all day, taking kids to countless activities, and keeping up with the daily demands of life, most home cooks are looking for fast, tasty, and premade food to serve to themselves and their families.
I look at cooking as a labor of love. And this labor of love takes time to plan and prepare with the result being delicious food. With St. Patrick’s Day only a couple days away, it is ideal to set aside some time for a home cooked meal to share with family and friends. Irish Lamb Stew with Carrots, Parsnips, Potatoes, Peas and Guinness is the definition of a comforting meal.
In about 3 hours, cubes of lamb shoulder become ultra-tender and are bathed in a rich beefy beer gravy studded with chunks of carrots, parsnips, potatoes and sweet green peas. A few tips will insure success when making this or any stew.
- Use the right cut of meat. Lamb shoulder is best for stew instead of leg of lamb which is more suited to grilling or roasting.
- An enameled cast iron Dutch oven is ideal for making stews. It is thicker and heavier than steel pots and therefore conducts and retains heat more effectively.
- Don’t skip searing the meat. This step achieves a nice brown crust on the lamb and adds intense flavor to the stew.
- Let the stew simmer slow and low. A great stew needs time to develop the rich flavors and for all the ingredients to be tender.
- Start cooking the meat first and then add the vegetables for the last half hour or so. If the carrots, parsnips, potatoes and peas are added to the stew at the same time as the lamb, they will turn to mush and lose much of their bright flavor.
- Serve the steaming hot bowls of stew with a crusty loaf of bread for sopping up the velvety gravy. It would be a crime to even waste a drop.
Following the tips for a delicious stew will make it the delicious centerpiece of an unforgettable family dinner. And if there are any leftovers, the stew will only be enriched in flavor when it is reheated over the next couple days.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut in 2-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (14.9 ounce) can of Guinness Draught
- 2 cups beef stock
- 3 springs of fresh thyme
- 2 large carrots, cut on bias in 1-inch pieces
- 3 medium parsnips, cut on bias in 1-inch pieces
- 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup of frozen green peas
- Heat a Dutch oven or medium sized stock pot over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Shear the meat on all sides until browned or about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and place it in a bowl taking care to leave any accumulated liquid behind. Add the flour to the browned meat. Toss the meat with a spoon until it is coated with the flour. Set aside.
- In the same pot, add the onion, celery and garlic and toss to coat in with the remaining liquid. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Sauté the vegetables until they begin to soften or about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine with the vegetables. Continue cooking for an additional minute.
- Add the Guinness, beef stock and thyme springs while stirring and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil then add the browned lamb meat. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer the stew for 1 and ½ hours.
- Add the carrots, parsnips and potatoes and stir to combine. Return the cover to the pot and continue simmering for 35 – 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the peas and stir. Continue simmering until they are heated through.
- The stew can be served immediately or stored for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium heat.
© 2017 amycaseycooks