Irish Stew. An old fashioned favourite with a step by step recipe to make it even more flavourful! This is comfort food at its very best.
This great fall dish is made up of simple elements that come together to make one of the most delicious beef stews I have ever made. Yes, you can make it with traditional lamb or mutton too.
I start with a great homemade beef stock which we almost always have on hand now. You can learn how to economically make beef or chicken stock in the oven here.
Normally I would make stock on a different day than a soup or stew. We freeze it in Ziploc bags that lay flat on a cookie sheet as they freeze.
This allows the bags to be stacked in the freezer when frozen. It’s a great way to minimize the space required in the freezer.
Seasoning the stew.
If you are using store bought stock, ALWAYS choose the low sodium or no sodium added version. That’s because as the stock reduces in the stew, the salt concentration will get higher.
In the end, it’s better for you to be able to add the amount of salt you prefer for seasoning or to meet the needs of a sodium restricted diet.
Irish stew is stew in it’s simplest form, so salt and pepper is all I use in this recipe. In other stews I would add a number of other flavouring elements from fresh thyme or rosemary to a dassh of worcestershire sace.
Not here though. In this recipe you want the natural quality and flavour of the simple ingredients to shine through.
Developing flavour in Irish Stew.
The next step in making this Irish Stew is to brown the beef or lamb well before braising it to tender perfection in Irish Ale.
This step really fully develops the flavour of the beef.
Please note that you can easily substitute lamb in this recipe, if that is your preference.
Finally, other than potatoes and seasoning, I add farm fresh, root vegetables to complete this delicious stew and sometimes leeks if they are available. The natural sweetness of pour local vegetables adds yet another layer of flavour to the pot.
Finally, it all comes together for the final stage of cooking until the potatoes are fork tender. Then it’s just a matter of serving to those who have been smelling this wonderful stew all afternoon.
Don’t forget the Yorkshire Pudding Popovers to go with the Irish Stew as pictured or try some of our Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread instead.
This is a great, slow cooked, comfort food meal and a great weekend recipe for the cold days ahead. Of course, this Irish Stew is also ideal for St Patrick’s Day! Éirinn go Brách!
Originally published October 2009.
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- Note that this is a very large recipe meant to feed a crowd,but it is easily halved for a smaller number of people. (See note below.
FOR THE BRAISED BEEF
- 4 pounds beef roast (I use chuck/blade roast but lamb is also very good in this recipe)
- 4 tbsp canola oil
- 2 pints Irish Ale (Smithwick's is a good choice.)
- 4 cloves minced garlic (optional, as this is not a traditional ingredient)
- 2 onions, diced
- Salt and pepper to season.
- 2 pounds parsnip, cut in chunks
- 2 pound turnip, cut in chucks
- 3 large leeks, shopped in thick slice (optional)
- 2 pounds carrots, cut in chunks
- 3 pounds yellow potatoes, washed and unpeeled, cut in chunks
- Salt and pepper to season
YOU WILL ALSO NEED
- 2 litres/quarts of beef stock (use low sodium or sodium free if using store bought)
- about 1/2 cup flour
TO PREPARE THE BRAISED BEEF
- Cut the roast into large chunks about 1 ½ inches in size.
- Salt and pepper the raw meat to season.
- In a large heavy bottomed dutch oven (7 quarts/litres or more) heat the canola oil over medium high heat.
- Brown the beef chunks on all sides, working in small batches so as not to crowd your pan.
- When all the beef is browned, remove it temporarily from the pot.
- Add the chopped onions to the pot. (plus the garlic if you are using it)
- Cook for a few minutes to soften the onions.
- Add the browned beef back to the pot along with the Irish Ale (You can just use more beef stock as a substitute if you prefer.)
- Cook slowly in a 300 degree oven for about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
ADD THE VEGETABLES
- Add all of the vegetables to the pot.
- Season again, lightly, with salt.
- Be sure to add the potatoes last, so that they are on top. This is so you can test them easily with a fork to judge if they are done.
TO FINISH THE STEW
- Add the beef stock to pot. (Reserve about a cup to make a thickening slurry after)
- Return to the oven for about an hour or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- In a bottle, shake together the reserved stock (or an equivalent amount of water) and the flour, to make a thickening slurry.
- You can use a whisk or even an immersion blender if you like to ensure that there are no lumps in the thickening. To be doubly sure you can also strain the thickening through a sieve if you like.
TIP FOR THICKENING THE GRAVY
- At this point, if the pot is very full, I remove about half of the contents temporarily, using a slotted spoon to leave all of the broth behind. This will make thickening the gravy much easier.
- Very slowly pour the thickening slurry into the pot while stirring constantly so no lumps can form. You can use part or all of the thickening slurry to get the gravy to your personal desired consistency, If it is still too thin for your preference, just make a little more of the slurry.
- Add the vegetables and beef back to the pot if you removed them, and simmer for just a couple of minutes. Taste the gravy and again lightly season if required.
- Serve with freshly baked Irish soda bread.
Please note that this recipe is written for a crowd of up to 16 people. The recipe is easily halved if you are serving fewer people. Plan for leftovers though. This stew is very good a day or two afterward as well. I normally add another splash or two of stock to the pot when I am reheating it.
Serving Size1 serving
Amount Per Serving Calories 605Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 141mgSodium 373mgCarbohydrates 45gFiber 7gSugar 9gProtein 43g
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.