Today is a big day for Irish Americans, including me. Which is kind of funny since we’re celebrating a man of Roman descent who came to Ireland as a slave. Our holiday celebrating one Magonus Saccauts Patricius, son of an official working for the Romans in Britain in the 5th century, has become about all things Irish–none of which are green beer, corned beef, or silly shamrock festooned hats. Funny that.
Ol‘ St. Pat was brought to Ireland as a slave (before he was a saint, of course) by a group of marauding pirate types in 416 AD . Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t exactly bring Christianity to Ireland, but he did make it much more popular. As for driving the snakes out of Ireland? Well, that’s probably myth. But, he did herd sheep, so he would probably appreciate this lamb stew recipe, which I’m reprinting from a previous post, cuz heh, the recipe is still great, and very timely, too.
So tonight, there’s no need to go out to the overcrowded pubs with all the other “Irish for a day” types and drink watery green beer. Stay home, crack open a Murphy’s or Guinness, and dig into this little bite of Irish soul food instead.
Manning’s Irish Pub Guinness Irish Stew
3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled
2 cups Guinness stout
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons minced herbs (thyme, rosemary, marjoram)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups beef stock
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
Heat half of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Working in batches, season a big handful of meat with salt and pepper and dredge it in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and brown meat in sauté pan until burnished on 2 sides. Transfer browned meat to a large Dutch oven or pressure cooker* with tongs and continue browning remaining meat, adding oil if necessary, and adjusting heat if flour begins to burn.
Chop 1 carrot finely, cut the others into 2-inch long sticks. Add more oil to pan, if necessary, and add the onions and chopped carrot. Saute until the onion begins to brown. Add 1/2 cup of the Guinness and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Put mixture in pot with lamb. Add the remaining Guinness, bay leaf, herbs, tomato paste, and enough stock to the pot to cover the meat. Bring to a simmer over medium low and cover. Cook until the meat is nearly tender, 40 minutes.
Add the potatoes, remaining carrots, and parsnips and continue to simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 30 minutes more. *If using a pressure cooker, make the stew up to the point where you add the stock, bring up to highest pressure (2nd ring on most models) and maintain pressure for 40 minutes. Release pressure, remove lid and skim any fat off top. Add the potatoes, remaining carrots and parsnips and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
Season the stew with salt and pepper and brown sugar, if needed.