Irish Stew Recipe

If you think of the phrase "meat and potatoes" in a pejorative sense, then you need to take a couple bites of this stew and then check back in with us. It turns out that when meat and potatoes are seared and then slow cooked with the right blend of herbs, spices, and sauces, the result is a meal you'll pine for rather than malign. And that meal is this Irish stew. 

While today this rich, tasty stew will seem a treat, chef and recipe developer Michelle McGlinn says: "It was originally a very inexpensive mutton dish that provided hearty meals to Irish peasants." She adds: "I usually have Irish stew around St. Patrick's Day, since I love celebrating my heritage with delicious Irish cuisine," but of course, there's no need to wait for St. Patrick's Day to make up a pot of Irish Stew, nor is any Irish heritage a prerequisite for doing so. All you need, in fact, is about two and a half hours of time and some basic ingredients, advanced culinary prowess not required.

"I'd consider this recipe fairly foolproof," says McGlinn. "The low-and-slow roasting step provides amazing flavors and perfectly tender meat and potatoes, and if you forget a timer and leave it in a little too long, it'll only make the lamb more tender and the potatoes totally soft."

Gather your ingredients to make this Irish stew

This Irish stew was traditionally made with mutton, which is meat sourced from a fully grown sheep. But "since mutton is not readily available anymore, lamb is generally the favored substitute," says McGlinn, adding "beef will work great, too but will have a slightly different flavor."

For this recipe, you'll need lamp stew meat cut into bite-sized pieces, unsalted butter, Yukon gold potatoes, an onion, garlic cloves, all-purpose flour, Worcestershire sauce, fresh thyme, bay leaves, beef broth, salt and pepper, and finely chopped parsley. Once you have all those ingredients, you'll be ready to get started.

Preheat the oven and sear the meat for your Irish stew

To start off this Irish stew recipe, preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, melt two tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. (A large oven-safe pot is fine, too, if need be.) While the butter is melting, generously season the chopped lamb with salt and pepper on all sides.

Once the butter is melted and the pot is hot, add the lamb and stir it to sear on all sides until the pieces are evenly browned. Once the meat is browned on all sides, which will take about eight to ten minutes, remove it from the pot and reserve it for later. Note that the lamb will not be fully cooked and will still be pink inside.

Brown the potatoes then cook the onions and garlic for your Irish stew

Add the potatoes to the pot, cut side down, and sear them without touching for five minutes, or until the bottoms are browned and crispy. (It's okay to touch one or two to check!) Add some oil if all the liquid dissolves and the potatoes begin to stick before they have browned up.

Once potatoes are browned on the bottom, remove them from the pot and place them with the lamb. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pot, and once it has melted, add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, which will take about two minutes.

Add in all remaining Irish stew ingredients (except parsley!)

Add the flour and mix it in with the onions and garlic. Stir until it has dissolved. Next, add Worcestershire sauce to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Then the potatoes and lamb back into the pot.

Next, add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Work the lamb to the bottom of the pot, then add the beef broth. The broth should cover the ingredients — nestle the lamb and potatoes in tightly to make sure they are submerged, and add water if needed.

Simmer, roast, and serve your Irish stew

Bring the Irish stew to a simmer, then turn off the heat, cover the Dutch oven, and put it into the pre-warmed oven. Roast the stew covered for an hour and a half. After that hour and a half has elapsed, remove the lid and roast for 20 more minutes uncovered. After those 20 minutes, pull your finished stew from the oven. Top the stew with chopped parsley, and then it's time to enjoy!

And if you're looking for pairing ideas, McGlinn says: "You can pair it with roasted carrots, since the stew doesn't include them. Otherwise, it goes perfectly with cabbage dishes and Irish soda bread. I also just love a good crusty bread for scooping up the gravy, like a baguette or fresh sourdough!"

Irish Stew Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
All you need to make this Irish stew is about two and a half hours of time and some basic ingredients, advanced culinary prowess not required.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
1.83
hours
Servings
4
servings
Irish stew
Total time: 2.33 hours
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound lamb stew meat (you can ask the butcher to cut this from lamb shoulder)
  • 5 to 6 yukon gold potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • ¼ ounce fresh thyme (about 4 to 5 healthy sprigs)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cups beef broth plus water, if needed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for topping
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, then melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. While the butter is melting, generously season the lamb with salt and pepper on all sides.
  2. Once the butter is melted and the pot is hot, add the lamb and sear on all sides until evenly browned. Once meat is browned on each side, about 8 to 10 minutes, remove from the pot and reserve. (Lamb will not be fully cooked and will still be pink inside.)
  3. Add the potatoes to the pot, cut-side down, and sear without touching for 5 minutes or until bottoms are browned and crispy. Add oil if liquid dissolves and potatoes begin to stick.
  4. Once potatoes are browned on the bottom, remove from the pot and reserve with the lamb, then add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pot. Once melted, add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the flour and mix into the vegetables until dissolved.
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom, then add the potatoes and lamb back into the pot.
  7. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and stir to combine all the ingredients, working the lamb to the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add the beef broth. The broth should cover the ingredients. Nestle the lamb and potatoes in tightly to fit and add water if needed.
  9. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat, cover, and add to the oven. Roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  10. After 1 hour and 30 minutes in the oven, remove the lid and roast for 20 minutes uncovered. Then remove from the oven.
  11. Top with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 708
Total Fat 35.9 g
Saturated Fat 17.2 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 105.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 67.4 g
Dietary Fiber 8.2 g
Total Sugars 5.5 g
Sodium 1,522.5 mg
Protein 30.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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