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Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Lamb Stew

As the main course for our Guinness Three Ways tonight we made an Irish Lamb Stew.  This creation was a compilation of several recipes as there are so many ways to make this classic dish.  Some methods used a crock pot or stove top dutch oven to cook in and used either a lamb shoulder or leg of lamb as their cut of choice.

Many of the recipes I came across used lamb shoulder, which is the traditional cut, but lamb shoulder proved to be impossible to find in any of the markets in our area.  Leg of lamb was an option, but I didn't want this ultra-tender cut of meat to completely fall apart when it was cooked for an extended amount of time.  To solve this problem we combined the tender leg of lamb and cooked it for a shorter time on the stove top.  The result was a thick-gravy stew with tender chunks of lamb and perfectly cooked vegetables. 

When choosing a leg of lamb remember the bone will account for about 3/4-1 pound of the total weight. The piece I used was 3.15 lbs and it netted about 2 lbs of meat once it was cut off the bone and trimmed.

The addition of Guinness Stout to the stew rounded out the flavors and was the perfect compliment to the lamb and beef stock.  Serve with a loaf of Irish Soda Bread or crusty French bread.  Enjoy!!

3 TB  Olive Oil
1  Large Onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp  Dried Thyme
1/4 cup  Flour
3 lb  Leg of Lamb, meat cut off the bone and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1-1/2 to 2 lbs total)
2 tsp  Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 bottle  Guinness Stout
1 TB  Tomato Paste
2 cups  Beef Broth
2  Bay Leaves
5 - 6  Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
6  Carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 TB  Dijon Mustard

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper, then add the lamb pieces and toss to coat evenly.  Shake off excess flour and add the meat to the pot.  Saute for about 5 - 7 minutes until the lamb is browned on all sides.

Remove the lamb and onions to a platter and set aside.  Pour the Guinness into the pan and simmer over medium-high heat, loosening any browned bits while stirring.  Reduce mixture for about 5 minutes, then add the tomato paste, broth and bay leaves.  Stir to combine then add the lamb and onions back to the pot.

Bring stew to a low boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot, stir and replace the cover.  Simmer for 1 hour longer. 

Just before serving add the Dijon mustard to the pot and adjust salt and pepper accordingly.

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