Irish Stew with Guinness - Serves 1 Nunu and a Pookie for a week.
Irish Stew, is traditionally made with mutton (older sheep), which has a denser meat taste and a higher fat content than lamb. However, for this stew I substituted mutton with lamb because I wanted a leaner and healthier stew and also because I wasn't able to find mutton. Mostly the latter. This is a VERY hearty stew, and perfect comfort food for the winter. If you don't eat lamb (omg you're so missing out!), or cannot find it, you can substitute it with the same volume of beef. Stews, in general, taste better as it 'ages', therefore it's a good idea to make this one day in advance. Please remember to eat it before it turns green.
You will need:
1 1/2lb lamb shoulder, rind and bones removed and the meat cubed. (My boucherie only sells lamb shoulders with the bone in, hence I bought a slightly larger weight than necessary. If you are using the boneless variety, I think 1lb would suffice. If your lamb also comes bone in, please remember to ask your butcher to kindly cut it up into manageable chunks for you, just ask him/her for a 'stew cut' they'll know what to do!)
2 large carrots, diced.
3 sticks of celery, diced.
1/2 large onion, diced.
5/6 large button mushrooms, sliced.
1 large russet potato, diced.
2 cloves garlic, minced.
440ml Guinness stout beer + another to drink whilst cooking
1/4 cup of pearl barley, rinsed.
3 cups of beef/veggie/lamb broth
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste.
1 stick butter.
2 bay leafs
4 sprigs of fresh thyme.
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary.
4 sprigs of fresh parsley.
3 tbsp flour.
Salt and pepper.
- Into a large pot (the one you're gonna ultimately be cooking the stew in), toss in all your lamb bones, the fatty rind and approx 3 cups of water. Once it reaches a boil, turn the temperature to low and let simmer throughout the duration of your preparations. Congratulations, you've just made lamb broth. If you're using boneless lamb, you can skip this part.
- Season the flour lightly with salt and pepper, place this flour mixture into a ziploc bag, add cubed lamb, close bag (seriously, make sure it's closed), and shake with youthful abandon until the meat is completed coated in flour.
- Oil a frying pan (or if you're a fob like me, a wok), once the oil is hot, toss in your floured lamb, happily poke it around the pan with a spatula until the meat is lightly browned. Remove meat from pan and set it aside.
- DO NOT WASH YOUR PAN.
- In the same pan, use half your butter to saute your garlic, onions, celery, carrots and potatoes. Fancy pants people call this a mirepoix and it forms the base for many soups and stews.
- DO NOT WASH YOUR PAN.
- Remember your pot of lamb broth that's still simmering away? well now it's time to remove all the bones and scum so that you're left with a clear broth. If you're using shop bought broth, add about 3 cups into a large pot and bring to boil.
- Into the broth, add your barley, browned lamb, and mixed sauted veggies (I am not a fancy pants, in fact I wasn't wearing any pants when I was doing this.), let them hang out in the pot and make friends.
- Crack open the Guinness (I was amused by the fact that Guinness cans have a marble inside and might have possibly shaken the can to hear the marble roll around <-- Bad Idea + Epic Fail), empty it into your pan and use it to deglaze all the caramelised ("car-mel" Hee!) bits of meat and veggie, let it sit on low heat to reduce for a few minutes, and then into the pot it goes!
- Ok, you can wipe your pan with a paper towel now xD.
- Saute your mushrooms with the remaining butter. Add to pot.
- Tie the parsley, rosemary, bay leaf and thyme into a little bundle, you can either use a string or a sprig of thyme. Toss into pot. Remember to fish this out prior to serving as no one likes to get a mouthful of herbs.
- Add tomato paste to pot.
- Add water if needed.
- Bring stew to a boil, then turn heat down and allow to simmer for approx 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve with some crusty bread.