I had planned on waiting to share this with you until closer to St. Patrick’s Day, but it is just so cold here that I thought it might do some of you more good now. I mean, I am truly hoping it will be a bit warmer by then. Keep in mind that I’m a Georgia girl and temperatures down around ten degrees (Fahrenheit) are something I am just not used to and don’t really want to get used to. But, Irish Stew is something I could get used to.
So, when I started out to make this, my first thought was what exactly makes Irish Stew Irish. Now that is quite the question because I did some research, and as it turns out lots of people have opinions about this and lots of them are conflicting. The only thing that I don’t think I saw a contradiction on was that it should be made with lamb or mutton, not beef. Mine is made from lamb because I live in the rural south and mutton was not available. I mean, lamb was just barely available – just a few packages at the grocery store. It just isn’t an everyday food around here.
After the acceptance of lamb, then the inconsistencies started. Some said that the meat should not be browned, while other said it should. Some said it had cabbage, some said it didn’t. Some said it should be thickened with potatoes, others said use a roux. Some said to thicken with one type of potatoes and then put another type in to cook as chunks. One even said not to use potatoes at all. So, who is right? If I knew, I would direct you to their website, but not being Irish or having ever even been to Ireland, I really have no idea.
So, I decided to pick and chose which of these things I liked. I added cabbage because we all like cabbage and more vegetables is always better. And, I decided to try the thickening with potatoes – though I only used russet potatoes because that is what I had on hand and I knew they would be good for thickening and have never had any issue with them cooked in stew as long as I didn’t over cook them, so the bites of potato were added last. I have to say that I was totally surprised by how well they potatoes thickened the stew. My usual recipe calls for dredging the meat in flour before browning, and then it cooks up nice and thick, but I really couldn’t tell the difference, which would be great for those with gluten issues.
Yield 4 -6
- 2 pounds lamb chops or neck with bone in (I used some of each.)
- 4 cups beef or lamb stock (I used beef.)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 5 potatoes medium russet potatoes
- 6 carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized chucks
- 4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
- Place meat in a large pot.
- Add stock, onion, bay leaf, and thyme.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Peel two potatoes and thinly slice directly into the pot. You want them as thin as possible because that need to cook apart to thicken the stew.
- Cook for about and hour or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Remove the meat form the pot and remove the bones and cut into bite sized pieces.
- Return meat to the pot.
- Add carrots and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Peel remaining potatoes and cut into bite sized chunks.
- Add the potatoes and cabbage to the pot and cook until tender (about 30 minutes)