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Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Stew & St. Patrick's Day

You cannot celebrate St. Paddy's Day without a traditional irish stew, accompanied by traditional irish soda bread, a pint of guiness, and some good ol' irish tunes. While in Ireland I indulged in copious amounts of pints of guiness and traditional Irish Stews. This recipe is from a women living in Killarney, Ireland, making it as close to authentic as I could make, being that I am a non Irish Canadian. But as they say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

This weekend I stayed slope side at Jay Peak, VT, enjoying a wicked weekend of skiing. After a long day of skiing there is nothing more enjoyable and relaxing than putting your feet up by a fire, opening a local beer (i.e. Jay Peak, The Hibernator) and filling up on a warm comfort food (i.e. brie topped with sundried tomatoes, walnuts, asiago cheese and parsley - compliments of my sister). Made with guiness, barley and lamb, this hearty stew is sure to fill your tummy and give you energy for another day on the mountain. And storm troopers need their energy (had to be there!).

3 pounds lamb shoulder or stewing beef, cubed
1/2 cup flour
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 large carrots, unpeeled and sliced
2 large parsnips, unpeeled and sliced
6 stalks celery, cut into 1/2" slices
2 large yellow onions, cut into large dice
3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bunch fresh parsley
8 cups lamb or beef stock, or as needed
12 ounces Guinness stout
1 cup pearl barley (optional)
1/2 T corn starch
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For a real Irish country touch, include the barley. Cook it for 20 minutes in 3 cups of lamb or beef stock. Will be added later to the stew.

Season the meat with salt and brown the meat in a little oil.

Remove and reserve the meat juice in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle meat with a little flour, shaking off excess. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pan and sauté. Add the Guinness and deglaze, scraping up any caramelized meat juices.

Add the potatoes, return the meat to the pot (and the barley if you're using it) and the thyme and rosemary.

Add enough stock to barely cover, cook over medium heat until just boiling, then reduce heat to very low and simmer 2 - 3 hours, until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.

Check seasonings, add salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat. Stir in the cornstarch (mixed into 4 teaspoons water) and stir. Cook over low heat for a few more minutes to thicken.
I serve with homemade whole wheat irish soda bread and more Guinness.

Serves: 6-8

Note: Deglazing is simply adding liquid to a pan in which you just sauteed some kind of meat, like chicken cutlets, in oil or butter. The deglazing liquid can be wine, stock, almost any liquid, even water. The idea is to loosen up any bits of meat that have stuck to the pan and incorporate them into the liquid because they have lots of flavor. The resulting liquid could eventually be the broth in a stew or a braised dish like lamb shanks. Sometimes the pieces of meat have been dusted in flour before being sauteed. Then, when you deglaze the pan with some white wine or chicken stock, the flour combines with the liquid and the cooking fat in the pan to form a quick sauce.

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Forts said...

Hey you’re the one that is in love with a storm trooper so be careful what you say.

The stew was awesome and only made all the better and traditional with the soda bread. It was awesome T, and it gave this storm trooper the energy needed to conquer the mountain.

Parker said...

Yes and who would have thought a storm trooper would be so agile on the mountain.

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