Irish Stew



There must be as many versions of this–Ireland’s national dish–as there are cooks. One thing all recipes should say is that the stew is to be cooked slowly until the lamb is meltingly tender. This stew is the ideal dish to return to after a day in the open air, as it can be made ahead and reheated while cook and guests enjoy the hot punch.

5 pounds lamb shoulder chops

20 baby red-skinned potatoes
6 large carrots, peeled, quartered
3 medium onions, quartered
2 medium leeks (white and pale greens parts only), split lengthwise, cut
into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups water

Trim and reserve fat and bones from lamb. Cut meat into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Place fat in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook fat until 3 tablespoons drippings are rendered, about 5 minutes. Using large spoon, remove any solid fat from pot; discard. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add lamb to pot; sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon , transfer lamb to plate. Add bones to pot; cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer bones to plate.

Add vegetables, parsley and thyme to pot; stir to coat with drippings. Return meat and bones to pot. Add 2 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pot tightly; simmer until lamb is tender and vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours.

Discard bones. Place 1 cup vegetables in processor; puree. Add to stew. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Simmer before serving.)

Serves 6.

Bon Appétit
May 1996