Traditional Irish Stew Recipe

Traditional Irish Stew. Irish stew (Irish: stobhach / Stobhach Gaelach) is a traditional stew made from lamb, or mutton (mutton is used as it comes from less tender sheep over a year old, is fattier, and has a stronger flavour, and is generally the most traditional variation used) as well as potatoes, onions, and parsley. It may sometimes also include carrots. Irish stew is also made with kid goat.

Irish stew is a celebrated Irish dish, yet its composition is a matter of dispute. Purists maintain that the only acceptable and traditional ingredients are neck mutton chops or kid, potatoes, onions, and water. Others would add such items as carrots, turnips, and pearl barley; but the purists maintain that they spoil the true flavour of the dish. The ingredients are boiled and simmered slowly for up to two hours. Mutton was the dominant ingredient because the economic importance of sheep lay in their wool and milk produce and this ensured that only old or economically non-viable animals ended up in the cooking pot, where they needed hours of slow cooking. Irish stew is the product of a culinary tradition that relied almost exclusively on cooking over an open fire. It seems that Irish stew was recognized as early as about 1800…

Irish Stew is traditionally esten on St Patrick’s Day as well as Samhain but seriously, it is far too good and is eaten all the time, after all it is Ireland’s National Dish

Irish stew in old copper pot

Traditional Irish Stew

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb/500g mutton or lamb cutlets (bone removed) cut into 2″/5cm chunks
  • 2lb/ 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 cup/115g onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup/ 100g leeks, cleaned and finely sliced
  • 1 cup/170g carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1½ pints / 750 ml dark beef stock
  • 2 or 3 cabbage leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
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  1. Heat the oven to 350F/180C/ Gas 4
  2. In a large frying pan heat half the oil to hot but not smoking. Add half the lamb pieces and brown all over. Remove the lamb and place in a casserole, cover with a half of the potatoes, onions, leeks and carrots.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan, heat again then add the remaining lamb and brown all over. Add to the casserole and cover with the remaining vegetables.
  4. Add the stock, cover with a tight fitting lid, cook in the oven for 1 hour. Add the cabbage (if using) replace the lid and cook for another hour. Check from time to time to make sure the stock isn’t reducing too much, if it is add a little boiling water. The meat and vegetables should always be covered by liquid. If the sauce is too runny at the end, cook a little longer with the lid removed. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve piping hot.

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