Irish stew is an easy stew recipe made with lamb or mutton and some vegetables such as russet potatoes (or as some people do call them, Irish potatoes) and carrots; another name for Irish stew is stobhach gaelach – in Irish or it is simply called Guinness stew. Traditional Irish stew recipe requires the use of lamb or mutton but modern versions now use beef or chicken for making this hearty stew. In this recipe, I will be showing how to make Irish stew with lamb and Guinness stout. If you don’t take Guinness, then you can omit this; the addition of Guinness stout to this stew greatly changes the flavor for the better.
What is the history behind Irish stew?
Irish stew was born out of necessity; in the 19th century, there was economic hardship in Ireland which led many families to fall back on simple and easy recipes for survival such as the Irish stew recipe. Traditional Irish stew was made using just potatoes and onions with or without meat. Where there is meat, it is usually the tough meat of old sheep that were kept for their wool and milk. In fact, only rich families get to add some vegetables such as carrots or turnips.
But in today’s Irish stew recipe, meat such as lamb, mutton, or beef are used and the stew is even regarded as a National dish of Ireland and as comfort food and often made with other recipes such as shepherd’s pie during the celebration of St. Patrick’s day.
Puritan Irish stew recipe is made with just neck mutton, onions, potatoes, and water; the puritans believe their recipe is authentic, and adding any other ingredients ruins the flavor.
Irish Stew Recipe: How to Make Irish stew with lamb and Guinness
- 700 grams Lamb (or Mutton) - cut into chunks.
- 1 cup Guinness stout
- 7 whole Russet Potatoes - cut into chunks.
- 1 cup Carrots - diced into small pieces.
- 4 sprigs fresh Thyme
- 2 whole Bay leaves
- 3 cloves Garlic - minced
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Black Pepper powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 2 sticks Celery - chopped
- 750 ml Lamb broth
- 4 tbsp Olive oil
- Pat the lamb with a paper towel to reduce the water content
- Season the lamb with ¼ tsp of black pepper powder and ¼ tsp of salt
- Place a pot or saucepan on the stovetop and add 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Now, bring in the seasoned lamb into the hot oil and brown the lamb on both sides.
- Once the lamb is brown in color, remove and keep it side
- Add extra 2 tbsps of olive oil to the same pot used for frying the lamb and then bring in the chopped onions.
- After stir-frying the onions, add the chopped celery sticks and minced garlic cloves; cook for a minute.
- Add 2 tbsp of tomato paste
- Also, add 750 ml of lamb broth
- Now, add 1 can or cup of Guinness stout. This enhances the flavor of the Irish stew and gives it the typical dark color.
- Return the fried lamb into the stew.
- Add 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ tsp of salt, and black pepper.
- Also, add 2 bay leaves to your easy Irish stew for more flavor.
- Stir everything together and reduce the heat to low; then cover and cook for 1 hour to soften the lamb.
- The lamb is soft after cooking for 1 hour and Irish stew is beginning to thicken because the liquid has reduced.
- Add the chopped potatoes and carrots into the Irish stew.
- The liquid in the stew should have been reduced, so add 2 cups of water to it.
- Stir everything together and cover the stew and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the lamb is tender. The potatoes help to thicken the lamb stew especially when they are so soft.
- Your easy Irish stew recipe is ready. This homemade Irish stew can be served with some boiled rice, pasta, or any dish that calls for use of stew.
How to Make Thick Irish StewTo make thick Irish stew, simply add some diced potatoes to it and cook for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft. If after 30 the Irish stew is not thickened, then mash some of the potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes.
What are the main ingredients of Irish stew?The main ingredients of Irish stew are Lamb, russet potatoes, parsley (for garnishing), carrots, and onions. Lamb, mutton, or beef can be used as the meat. Other ingredients are just added for more flavoring such as thyme and Guinness (which is optional).
What gave the Irish stew its fresh flavor?The flavor of Irish stew is derived from the addition of Guinness to the stew. Other fresh spices and herbs such as thyme and chopped celery sticks all enhance the flavor of Irish stew. Other herbs such as bay leaves can be added for more flavor.
Why is Irish stew so popular in Ireland?
Irish stew is popular in Ireland because it uses cheap ingredients that are also readily available. This stew became popular in Ireland in the 19th century when the poverty rate was high due to economic problems. The cut of meat used in traditional Irish stew was also cheap and take longer to cook.