I admit that when The Old Man and I went to Ireland and Spain last year, I was planning on writing many detailed posts about every meal, every adventure, every milestone. Instead I wrote two posts (this one and this one), neither of which detail the delicious food we experienced. So, let me take this opportunity to talk about Ireland’s lamb stew.
IT IS SO GOOD. Especially when it is freezing and raining outside (which it was) and served with soda bread (which everything is) near a hearth fire (of which there are many). Our favorite place for stew in Dublin was a pub near Trinity College called The Duke. It is two stories tall with nooks and booths to hide away in, there are several hearths crackling, comfortable seating, lovely servers, and – of course – delicious lamb stew. It was so perfectly warm and welcoming in The Duke, and the stew was hearty and flavorful; a happy combination perfectly suited to weary travelers on a chilly afternoon.
In honor of all things Irish, on St. Patrick’s day whilst pining for beautiful Ireland, I made my own version of Lamb Stew. See below for the recipe.
And since I neglected to snap any photos of my stew, please accept this Instagram shot of Ireland instead.
The Domestic B’s Lamb Stew
Makes almost enough for 8 neighbors in your backyard on St. Patrick’s Day.
4 to 6 pounds of lamb (Ask your butcher which cuts he / she recommends for stews. I like to make sure at least one bone is included for flavor.)
1/2 pound end cut bacon pieces
freshly ground black pepper
flour (enough to coat pieces of lamb)
a handful of carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
5 to 7 small red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 leek, chopped
5 cups of water
3 beef bouillon cubes, dissolved
1 can / bottle Guinness beer
2 bay leaves
1) Fry bacon pieces in a pan. Remove from pan, cut away as much visible fat as possible, cut into bite-sized pieces and add bacon to empty crock pot. Discard fat, or toss a little back into the pan.
2) Re-heat pan (using the bacon fat that still remains), and add whole pieces of lamb, lightly browning the outsides. Remove from pan, cut into pieces and remove as much excess fat as possible.
3) In a bowl, add plenty of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and flour to a bowl. Coat pieces of lamb. Re-heat frying pan and add the lamb pieces. Fry until cooked medium rare. Add to crock pot.
4) Sautee chopped leek and minced garlic in pan for a few minutes (use a drizzle of grape seed oil if all bacon fat is gone). Add to crock pot.
5) Add 5 cups of water and beef bouillon to the crock pot. Cover and turn on high. Allow to cook for 1 hour.
6) Add Guinness beer, carrots, celery, potatoes, barley, and bay leaves to the crock pot. Sprinkle a pinch of thyme on top, stir and cover. Cook for 1 hour.
For best results, serve on a cold and rainy day with soda bread near a crackling fire. Have lots of craic.