Ireland

Dish

Ireland's national dish is Irish stew. A traditional Irish stew was always made with mutton, but more often nowadays, is made with lamb. Controversy reigns over whether vegetables other than potatoes should be added; adding onions, leeks and carrots not only adds extra flavour but also nutrition to the stew. The choice is yours.

Ingredients

  • 1.35kg (2½-3lb) lamb chops (gigot or rack chops) not less than 2.5cm (1in) thick
  • 8 medium or 12 baby onions
  • 8 medium or 12 baby carrots
  • 8 -12 potatoes (more if you like)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1½-1¾ pints stock (lamb if possible) or water
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Irish-Stew

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Cut chops in half; trim off some of the excess fat. Set aside.
  2. Render down the fat on a gentle heat in a heavy pan (discard the rendered pieces).
  3. Peel onions. Scrape or thinly peel carrots (if they are young, leave some of the stalk on).
  4. Cut the carrots into large chunks, the onions into quarters through the root (if small, you can leave whole).
  5. Toss the meat in the hot fat on the pan until it is slightly brown.
  6. Transfer the meat into a casserole, then quickly toss the onions and carrots in the fat. Build the meat, carrots and onions up in layers in the casserole, carefully season each layer with salt and pepper.
  7. Deglaze the pan with lamb stock and pour into the casserole.
  8. Peel the potatoes and lay them on top of the casserole (they will steam while the stew cooks). Season the potatoes. Add a sprig of thyme, bring to the boil on top of the stove, cover with a butter wrapper or paper lid and the lid of the pan.
  9. Transfer to a moderate oven or allow to simmer on top of the stove until the stew is cooked, approx 1-1½ hours.
  10. When the stew is cooked, pour off the cooking.
  11. Check seasoning, allow to rest for 10 minutes in casserole before serving.
  12. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley