Irish Stew

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

Irish Lamb StewMany Americans say they don’t like lamb. I love English or New Zealand lamb, but I find American lamb to be strong smelling and tasting. Jacques Pèpin says the fat on the lamb is strong tasting, so he advises removing as much visible fat as possible. I normally buy boneless leg of imported Australian lamb from Costco. If you look Irish Stew up on American sites, they all claim they are the original and all differ. This recipe is what I used to make in England, except that in England I would use neck of lamb and then remove bones. I have made this with shoulder lamb chops, which have far too much fat and not enough meat, but not a cheap cut. This is far better made with leg of lamb, cubed, or lamb shanks. On my cousins’ farm in Ireland, this would taste quite different from supermarket ingredients.  My cousins would dig a bucket of potatoes, onions and carrots fresh from the kitchen garden for that day’s meals. Fresh lamb from the farm is beyond description, so wonderful, tasty, juicy and tender.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. boned leg of lamb, cut into 2” cubes OR 4 small lamb shanks
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut in thick chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. white or brown rice flour, mixed with salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. oil (or butter or lard)
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and thickly sliced
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 4 celery stalks peeled and finely chopped
  • 12 small potatoes (or more), peeled but left whole
  • 2 tsp. gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme OR ½ tsp. dry thyme
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary, placed in coffee filter paper and tied with string
  • 4 cups gluten-free chicken stock

Directions:

  1. Dip meat in seasoned flour.
  2. Heat oil in pan (deep 12″ skillet) and fry onion and lamb together until meat and onions are nicely browned. Frying meat and onions this way adds color and flavor.
  3. Add leeks, carrots and celery. Turn with additional butter, if necessary, until vegetables start softening.
  4. Add whole potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary and chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, in 325°F oven for 1½ hours or until meat is tender. Place a layer of foil between the lid and pan so the liquid doesn’t evaporate.
  6. You can leave out small potatoes. Peel large potatoes and thinly slice. After about 1 hour of cooking, arrange sliced potatoes on top, cover and continue to cook. When meat is tender, brush top of potatoes with butter and brown the top of potatoes under grill. Thinly sliced potatoes cook quite quickly and can disintegrate.
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