Irish Stew: The Recipe

Serves 4 to 6
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1.5 to 2 hours

- 3 1/3 pounds (1.5kg) mutton or lamb chops from the neck or shoulder, still on the bone, cut about 3/4 inch (1.5cm) thick
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 carrots, cut into thick slices at an angle, or 12 small baby carrots, scrubbed and left whole
- 12 baby onions, or 3 to 4 medium onions, cut into quarters through the root, which should keep the wedges intact
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 2/3 cups (400ml) lamb stock, chicken stock, or water
- 8 to 12 potatoes, peeled, and halved if very large
- Sprig of thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives

Irish Stew: The Preparation

Preheat the oven to 325-degrees Fahrenheit (160 Celcius /Gas mark 3)

Cut the chops in half, but keep the bones intact as they will give great flavor. Heat the olive oil in a medium to large Dutch oven or flameproof casserole. Toss in the meat and cook for a minute on both sides, until nice and brown. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the carrots and onions to the hot oil and cook for a couple of minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Return the meat to the pot. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Put the potatoes in, season again with salt and pepper, and place a sprig of thyme on top.

Cover and bake in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender. When it is cooked, pour off the cooking liquid and allow it to sit for a minute until the fat floats to the top; adding a cube of ice will help speed this up. Spoon off the fat and pour the juices back over the stew. Add the chopped herbs and serve.

Rachel's Tip: If the potatoes are quite small, add them 20 to 30 minutes after the stew starts cooking to avoid them breaking up.

Find the ingredients for Irish Stew at a market near you. »