Winter nights get warmer with a good recipe for Irish Stew

·2 min read

This time of year — when it’s cold and the sun sets so early — our main evening event is a cozy dinner at home. I’ve been craving soups and stews this winter more than usual, so this week’s recipe is for Irish Stew.

Dating back to as early as 1800, this celebrated Irish dish can take many forms. It’s mostly made of lamb or mutton, but occasionally beef, potatoes, onions, carrots and parsley make it in. Like many cultural dishes, there are variations. It’s fun sometimes to try different variations of dishes to find a favorite, and this simple recipe produces my favorite Irish Stew.

The recipe is simple, to the point and yields a delicious succulent stew. Lamb is an acquired taste for a lot of people, but I grew up eating it in Lebanese food. If you think you don’t like it, try using half beef and half lamb in this stew. You might change your mind and go full lamb the next time you make it.

The author of this Irish Stew recipe is a seasoned chef named David Tanis. He had my heart at the title of his cookbook, “Heart of the Artichoke,” years ago. He worked as a chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, alongside the famous Alice Waters, and his style of food is “simple yet elegant,” as described on the inside cover of the cookbook.

I hope you enjoy this delicious stew – even if you decide to go rogue and make it with all beef.

Irish Stew

3 pounds lamb shoulder cut into 2-inch chunks (or use thick shoulder chops)

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 pounds onions (about 6 medium), cut into wedges

1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), cut into 3-inch lengths

4 cups chicken, veal or beef broth (or water)

1 large sprig thyme

3 pounds russet potatoes (about 12 small), peeled and halved, or cut in 2-inch thick slices

Pat lamb dry and season well with salt and pepper. Put oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat on all sides, working in batches.

Set meat aside and add onions and carrots to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Return meat to pot, add broth and bring to a simmer. Put in thyme sprig and arrange potatoes on top. (It’s fine if potatoes are not completely submerged). Season potatoes, cover pot and transfer to oven.

Bake for about 1 hour, until lamb is quite tender when probed with a skewer or paring knife. Remove fat from top of broth. Ladle stew into shallow bowls and serve.

New York Times Cooking, David Tanis

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