Not many people I know like to eat lamb, because it has a distinct flavor and odor. (I’m not sure if that is what people consider ‘gamey’) But in our household, having lamb for dinner is always a treat. Whenever I can, I try to find new ways of cooking lamb, especially for certain occasions. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of the traditional dishes served during St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is the Irish Lamb Stew.
Our St. Patty’s Day-themed dinner party gave me a reason to try this lamb recipe. And for those of you who’ve ever cooked dinner for a lot of people, I’m sure you know the value of slow cooking recipes. This stew can be made ahead of time, giving you more time to prepare the rest of your dishes on the day itself. Besides, this stew is even more delicious the day after. Just keep it in the fridge and heat just before serving.
- 1/2 pounds thickly sliced bacon, diced
- 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoons white sugar
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 2 large onions, cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 large potatoes, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside.
Put lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat meat evenly. Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat.
Place meat into stock pot (leave 1/4 cup of fat in frying pan). Sautee the garlic and yellow onion in the pan until the onion begins to become golden. De-glaze frying pan with 1/2 cup water. Add the garlic-onion mixture to the stock pot with the bacon pieces, sugar, bay leaves, and the remaining water. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours in the lowest stove setting.
Add carrots, onions, potatoes and thyme. Reduce heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Serve hot.
I know something that cooks this long isn’t exactly considered comfort food, but believe me when I say that there is something really comforting about eating this stew with a bowl of steaming rice. Just make a batch during the weekend, and eat your “leftover” stew when you feel like it.