Best Irish Stew Recipes
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Irish Stew Shopping Tips
As an alternative to sugary, salty, processed foods, try shopping for fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Irish Stew Cooking Tips
For a healthier alternative, substitute honey or molasses for sugar in baking recipes, and use a 3:1 blend of canola oil to olive oil instead of butter when cooking over the flame.
Irish Pork Stew with Stout and Caraway Seeds
The traditional Irish Stew gets an infusion of flavor with this recipe using tender pork, earthy caraway seeds, and Irish stout in a simmering broth that thickens as it cooks thanks to a surprising method: cooking with the pork bones!
this recipe is brought to you by McCormick®
What is Irish Stew?
This stew is simple to make and it’s more or less authentic to the occasion. Tradition would say to use lamb in Irish Stew, but that’s not super cheap or readily available in the States, so I use a chuck roast instead. Truly authentic Irish Stew consists of mutton, potatoes, onions, and parsley. Sometimes it has carrots, like here.
Ironically, I’m using what I have (beef), just like Irish-American immigrants did so many years ago when they adopted Jewish corned beef to replace the pricier bacon to go with cabbage.
You do what you can, right?
Since beef is more readily available here in the States, I’m only going to address beef for this recipe.
- 1.5lbs chuck roast cut into 1.5-inch pieces or pre-cut stew meat
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2lbs Yukon Gold potatoes halved or quartered depending on size
- 1lb baby carrots
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cans beef broth approximately 40 ounces
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch added to 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Cut roast into 1.5-inch bite-size chunks and place them in a gallon-size resealable bag. Add flour, salt, and pepper. Shake bag until the meat is coated with flour.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottom skillet or pot. Add coated meat and brown each piece on all sides.
While meat is browning, cut potatoes and carrots, and place both in the bottom of a slow cooker.
When the meat is browned, layer the meat on top of the potatoes and carrots and leave the remaining juices in the skillet.
Return the skillet to the stovetop and add butter. Melt the butter on medium-high heat, then sauté onions and garlic. Stir in beef broth, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. In a small cup, combine cornstarch and cold water. Mix until smooth then add to the liquid mixture in the skillet. This will thicken the liquid. Pour all the contents of the skillet over the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker.
Add thyme, parsley flakes, and bay leaves.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for approximately 4 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, check the taste of the broth and add salt, pepper, or seasonings as needed. Allow it to cook for another 30 minutes after adding seasonings. Remove bay leaves before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.
Rachel Allen's Irish Stew
As Rachel Allen explains in her new book, Rachel's Irish Family Food, there is no definitive recipe for Irish stew. The meat and vegetable stew is often a household specialty with its own family tricks and tweaks. Allen's take is a no-frills version with a short ingredient list. Her technique, however, builds a good amount of flavor and body with so few components: She picks bone-in lamb shoulder chops for the bulk of the stew, which contributes extra body to the broth and keeps the lamb succulent. In addition to browning the chops, Allen also browns the vegetables to build extra fond and give the usually wan roots more color. The stew is finished with a generous sprinkling of both chives and parsley to give a final burst of freshness.
Why I picked this recipe: Why eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty's when you can dig into a rich, hearty lamb stew?
What worked: Cooking the lamb on the bone gave the stew extra body and kept the lamb extra succulent.
What didn't: The carrots turned pretty mushy by the end of cooking, so I'd remove them after browning and then add them back after the first 30-45 minutes of cooking next time. Allen doesn't instruct to brown the meat in batches, but you'll need to do so in order to avoid steaming.
Suggested tweaks: Turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, or any other hearty root vegetable would be a worthwhile addition here.
Reprinted from Rachel's Irish Family Food: 120 classic recipes from my home to yours by Rachel Allen. Copyright 2013. Published by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
The liquid and flavourings
Herbs and spices tend, unsurprisingly, to be kept fairly simple: bay, parsley and thyme are popular, with chives and parsley the most common toppings. Gary Rhodes and Rachel Allen both add garlic, but this seems to me a dangerously fancy road to go down. If onions are good enough for the domestic science syllabus, they’re good enough for me.
The same goes for wine or stout: some modern recipes moisten the stew with stock, but this should be necessary only if you’re using boneless stewing meat: good-quality lamb stock is hard to get here, so I use chicken instead in the Ballymaloe recipe, and it works out very well. If not, then let’s be honest, a cube isn’t going to bring the sky down on your head.
Even better, however, is to make a stock from the stew meat itself. Corrigan takes it off the bone and uses the bones to make a stock, while Henry slow-cooks shanks in water and aromatics until tender, then strains the resulting broth to cook the vegetables in. Both excellent recipes, but if you’ve managed to get hold of lamb neck on the bone, it’s easier to cook as is and pull off the meat off the bone before serving (or let people do it themselves on their plates): the gravy will still be rich and full-flavoured, and it’s far less faff.
That said, all beasts are different, and if you taste the gravy and decide it’s still underpowered, Rogers’ dash of Worcestershire sauce, or indeed the Oxo cube apparently favoured by many Irish grannies, are your rescue remedies. And if you’re feeling really daring, then chef Michael Clifford of the legendary Clonmel restaurant Clifford’s used to add a good glug of double cream to his stew, while Lindsey Bareham recommends a knob of butter. Just don’t say I told you to do it.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Put flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat lamb in flour, then transfer to a large plate. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large deep ovenproof and flameproof casserole over a medium heat. When hot, add ¼ of the lamb and cook for 8 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl. Cook remaining lamb, adding more oil as required.
Add eschalots, carrot and potato to dish and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until tender. Slowly add stock and stir to combine. Bring to the boil. Return lamb to casserole. Add parsley, bay leaves, and season. Cover and put in oven. Bake for 1 hour. Stir, then return to oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until lamb is very tender. Set casserole over a medium heat on stovetop. Combine cornflour and water in a jug. When stew comes to the boil, add cornflour mixture and stir until combined and sauce thickens. Serve.
Irish Beef Stew
Yield: 6 servings
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
total time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Amazingly slow-cooked tender beef with garlic mashed potatoes – comfort food at its best, and something you’ll want all year long!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup dark stout beer*
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
For the garlic mashed potatoes
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup half and half*
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To make the garlic mashed potatoes, place potatoes and garlic in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes drain well and return to the stockpot.
- Stir in half and half and butter. Using a potato masher, mash until smooth and creamy set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season beef with salt and pepper, to taste. Add beef to the stockpot and cook until evenly browned, about 2-3 minutes set aside.
- Add garlic, onion, leek and carrots to the stockpot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Whisk in beef broth, beer, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and beef season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil reduce heat, cover and simmer until the beef is tender, about 90 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine butter and flour. Add mixture to the stockpot until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in frozen peas until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.
- Serve immediately with garlic mashed potatoes.
*Beef broth can be used for beer as a non-alcoholic substitute.
*Half and half is equal parts of whole milk and cream. For 1 cup half and half, you can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream or 2/3 cup skim or low-fat milk + 1/3 cup heavy cream.
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Irish Lamb Stew
When you conjure up thoughts of Ireland, you likely think of sloping thatched-roof houses with gardens in front and huge fireplaces in rooms where the owners take refuge from Ireland's frequent rain. And on the table, by the fire, you would probably find Irish stew, a regular one-pot meal. Rustic, simple, and hearty, there's no one true recipe for the stew. It has evolved and adapted over time and different places, but it's usually made with lamb, onions, and potatoes. Other ingredients have been added or replaced over time originally the stew was made with mutton—older animals with tougher and fattier meat—but nowadays lamb's shoulder seems to be the go-to cut. It was also made without potatoes, as these came to Ireland only in the 16th century when they were brought over from South America.
Each family has a favorite variation, but most people like to add carrots. Parsnips, peas, turnips, or celery can also appear, and even Guinness is added in some versions. Our recipe has tasty bacon and bacon fat to add an extra layer of flavor to the broth.
In traditional fashion, make this stew the day before and refrigerate overnight, as it is even better reheated. The flavors have time to blend together more, which results in a more flavorful dish. Accompany your meal with a loaf of good soda bread. Some pickles and sauerkraut can complement the earthy and bold flavors of the lamb. This recipe appears in "The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors" by Jeff Smith.
Try our recipe for a comforting slow cooker Irish stew
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, we’re all looking for a chance to celebrate—even if we might still be celebrating at home with our close family and friends.
In an effort to make the best of it, 225 recipe writer Tracey Koch decided to celebrate this holiday by making a truly authentic Irish meal.
First up is a Slow Cooker Irish Stew.
Historically, it was a one-pot dish filled with ingredients that were inexpensive and readily available, such as lamb, onions and lots of potatoes. Other root vegetables were sometimes added, like carrots or turnips, for flavor. Everything was thrown into a large pot and simmered down with a little water, broth or beer for a few hours.
The result was a cheap and hearty meal that would keep families well fed. As Irish immigrants came to America, lamb was replaced by beef, which was more popular and readily available.
Tracey has created a delicious rendition of this dish and adapted it to work in a slow cooker. This stew gets its rich flavor from a combination of Guinness stout and beef broth.
Click here to read the full recipe, as well as other St. Patrick’s Day-themed recipes, from our March 2021 issue.