Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On the Lamb

(Yeah, it's a pun, folks.... I'm not actually on the lam.)

So there are three things my dad asks me practically every time we speak:

  1. Are you okay financially? Yes, dad. (Did you just slip a $20 in my handbag??)
  2. Are you seeing anyone? *Sigh* No, dad.
  3. Are you eating meat? You're looking too thin! Actually...
While traveling through Ireland and Scotland for a month this summer, I must say that I ate probably an Ibti-year's worth of meat. How can you resist ordering a steak or a lamb shank after seeing field upon lush, open field of Scottish Highland steers and fluffy sheep cavorting around? I couldn't. I came home exactly 7 pounds heavier -- which, admittedly, may just as well be attributed to the omnipresence of Guinness and potatoes as to the lack of vegetables -- and with a craving for Irish food. Maybe with a bit more wine and veggies mixed in.

Conveniently, I had some Irish friends who were in need of a thank-you dinner from me: the perfect chance to test out an Irish stew recipe in the gorgeous My Irish Table cookbook. The result was roundly lauded by my dinner guests, who all demanded seconds on both the stew and its corresponding homemade piccalilli. (No, that's not a typo, it's a condiment.)

One day, if I either win the lottery or date a sugar daddy, I want to get myself to Restaurant Eve to try out the real thing, but for now I can definitely recommend the cookbook's version of this simple country dish...with a few minor modifications I made: wine and stock in place of water, double the carrots and potatoes and garlic, and a different cut of meat.

Irish Stew (serves 6)


  • 3 meaty lamb necks, split in half length-wise (recommended by my friend Bev of Eco-Friendly Foods for it's flavorful meat, thickening marrow, and low price point -- hey, free-range stuff gets expensive, and Cathal was calling for shoulder chops...for stew!)
  • olive oil
  • 3 onions, peeled and diced
  • 4-5 carrots, cut into 1" chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups potatoes, cut into 1" chunks
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 1 cup red wine (I think a small bottle of Guinness would also work well here. I'm just sayin'.)
  • 1 small handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • salt and pepper


Pour a few glugs of oil into a large, cast-iron pot and heat to medium.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the lamb necks, then brown in the pot. Move the browned lamb to a plate.

Add onions, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf to the pot. Top this with the lamb, and then layer on the potatoes. Pour in the stock and wine, and bring the pot to a boil.

Turn down the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Stir in the thyme and serve immediately or, if you have a full day of work before a Monday night dinner party, say, make the stew the night before, keep it in the fridge overnight, and then rewarm it with the fresh thyme stirred in (in the oven for 30 minutes at 300F).

Serve alongside homemade piccallili. (Oh, you want that recipe, too? Drop me an email.)

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