Yes, I said I was not going to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day but! I can still celebrate Irish foods this week. I am part Irish. With spring coming and I love participating in food rituals, I thought what better dish to make for today than Irish Stew? You can find the recipe I used here.
The recipe calls for 4 lbs of lamb shoulder which they did not have. They did have leg of lamb starting at $24!!! Uh…. no. I can not afford that. They had these chops and I asked the butcher if they would work in the stew and he said, “Oh yes, but of course! It’s still lamb.” Phew! And they were on sale. The only problem was by the time I had cut it all up and taken off the fat, there was less than half the meat called for in the recipe. No problem, I would cut the recipe in half.
Another issue was the ingredient “stout.” What is stout? Ale? Beer? I had no idea. I am not a drinker. And beer? Gross! I found a can of Guinness in the liquor store and went to the cash. The cashier said, “Twelve dollars please”. Twelve bucks? For a can of beer?! She told me that oh no, they came in packs of four. Thus explaining the English ale I used instead, please forgive me! It was only $2.50 a can and I used most of it in the recipe instead of the broth. I was worried it would taste too much like beer but it was fine. I also added an extra carrots, I love the veggies in a stew. Pearl onions were a big of an investment, they are not cheap, but they are delicious so I bought some.
So while you do small batches browning the meat you cut off the end tips off the pearl onions and blanch them for a bit. Run them under cold water until they are cool enough to touch and remove the outer skin. Easy! Once the beef is browned remove and then add the onions, carrots and some barely to the pot, stirring to coat with the brown yummy bits on the bottom. Add some stock, stout, bay leaf and some chopped fresh time to the pot:
Return the meat and add some new potatoes sliced in half. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat, cover and cook for ninety minutes until the meat is tender and the barley has soaked up all the liquid.
I was worried the dinner was going to be soupy but the barley soaked up all the liquid and the lamb got super tender. My favourite part of this dish is the barley, I love barley! My husband took one bite and said, “Oh my God, all of a sudden I am transported to a pub!” He had no idea just how much he associated this meal with pub life. He said the dish was absolutely authentic, tasted like the “real thing.”
I had never eaten an Irish Stew before and this dish was delicious. Easy to make and super tasty, this is a real winner of a recipe! I give this recipe five out of five wooden spoons.