Gay Cook’s Irish lamb stew

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4 – 5 servings

There are as many versions of Ireland’s national dish as there are cooks. One key to the stew is to cook it slowly until the lamb is meltingly tender. It’s a delicious dish to serve in the cooler days of spring.

  • 1 lb (250 g) boneless lamb shoulder or leg cut in 1-inch (5 cm) cubes
  • Bouquet garni – bay leaf, 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme, parsley leaves
  • 8 – 10 fresh pearl onions
  • 1 tablespoons (40 mL) vegetable oil or rendered fat
  • Generous sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) hot beef or lamb stock or water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) beer or dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) tomato paste
  • 1-2-inch piece orange rind – optional
  • 2 – 3 small carrots cut into 1-inch (5 cm) pieces
  • 1/2 small turnip or 1 parsnip cut into 1-inch (5 cm) pieces
  • 1 medium potato cut into 1-inch (5 cm) pieces
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen green peas – optional
  • 2 tablespoons (25 mL) chopped parsley

1. Trim and reserve fat from the meat. To make bourquet garni, tie herbs, parsley leaves and cheesecloth and set aside. To remove onion skins, drop them into boiling water and boil 1 minute. Drain, cool and remove skin and trim root and tip ends. Set aside.
2. In heavy saucepan, add oil or render down on medium heat any lamb fat removed from the meat; sear meat on high heat until brown on all sides and generous sprinkle with salt and pepper and. Remove meat as it browns and reserve. Add onion and stir until lightly browned then add garlic and stir several seconds. Lower heat to medium, and stir in meat, stock, wine or beer, tomato paste and bouquet garni. Season if needed. Bring to a gentle simmer for 40 minutes. Add pearl onions, carrots, turnips or parsnips and potatoes. Cover and simmer 40 minutes or until meat is tender.
3. Add peas if using. Cook 2 minutes or until peas are tender. Remove bouquet garni. Serve, garnished with chopped parsley.

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