Irish Stew

Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Tonight we’re celebrating not with corned beef and cabbage, but Irish Stew. Now don’t get me wrong, I love corned beef and cabbage, but to be honest, I prefer Irish stew for sentimental reasons. My grandparents, who were from Belfast, never had corned beef and cabbage growing up. It wasn’t until they came to America that they had corned beef and cabbage. According to this New York Times article, corned beef and cabbage is definitely more of an American tradition than Irish.

Knowth, Brú na Bóinne
Knowth, Brú na Bóinne

In any event, here is my version of Irish Stew. It was inspired by Nanny’s, with a little help from Darina Allen in terms of quantities. This dish can be served on any cold night; there is no need to wait for St. Patrick’s Day!

Rainbow in Donegal

“May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies,
Quick to make friends.
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing
But happiness
From this day forward.”

Irish Stew with fresh herbs in dutch oven

Irish Stew

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

2 pounds lamb stew meat
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/3” thick
1 pound onion, peeled and sliced ½” thick
4-5 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1” chunks
salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 sprig fresh thyme
3-4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a large dutch oven, layer the meat and vegetables beginning with the lamb, followed by the potatoes, carrots, and onions. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Follow with another layer of meat, potatoes, carrots and onions, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add any remaining meat, carrots and onions and finish with a layer of potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill dutch oven 2/3 of the way full with water. Add thyme and cover. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and reduce to a simmer. Keep covered and simmer for 1-2 hours or until meat is tender.

Just before serving, stir in fresh parsley. Serve hot with freshly baked soda bread.

Lamb, potatoes, carrots, and onions for Irish Stew
Gather your ingredients… lamb, potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Onions, carrots, and potatoes peeled and sliced on cutting board
Prep your ingredients… peel and slice onions, carrots, and potatoes.
Layers of lamb, potatoes, carrots, and onions seasoned with salt and pepper in dutch oven.
Start layering your ingredients in a dutch oven… layer of lamb, followed by layers of potatoes, carrots, and onions. Season with salt and pepper.
another layer of lamb, followed by potatoes, carrots, and onions seasoned with salt and pepper.
Add another layer of lamb, followed by potatoes, carrots, and onions. Season with salt and pepper.
Final layer of Irish Stew ingredients in dutch oven
Add final layer of lamb, and any remaining onions or carrots. Top with potato slices. Season with salt and pepper.
Adding water to Irish stew ingredients
Add enough water to fill 2/3 up the side of the pot.
Irish stew ingredients in dutch oven
Sprinkle with dried thyme or add sprig of fresh thyme. Cover pot and bring to boil over medium high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook 1-2 hours or until meat is tender.
After 1-2 hours, when the meat is tender, add chopped parsley.
Start checking meat after 1 hour. When the meat is tender, remove from heat and add chopped parsley. (Total cooking time will be between 1-2 hours.)
Irish Stew with Irish Soda Bread
A wonderful dinner any night… serve stew with thick slices of Irish soda bread.

51 thoughts on “Irish Stew

  1. My family are from Belfast too! The Irish bit anyway. But that aside – we never EVER had corned beef and cabbage in the UK (delicious as it is) but Irish Stew and its cousin Scouse in LIverpool or more widely Lancashire Hotpot are the bees knees. Enjoy yours and I will dip into your recipe when my Scouse husband falls off the plane from Hawaii and expects some home cooking. And I hope perhaps you might take up my invitation later in the year for the 14th July party I am hosting (that’s Bastille Day to the uninitiated). Let’s meet beforehand because I would be honoured if you would join us. Sláinte 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a small world, Fiona!!! We were in Belfast last summer and loved it. It was very special to show the kids where my/their “people” (as Nanny would say) were from. We definitely have to compare stories. And I am honored to be included in the Bastille celebration. Vive la France! And, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That must have been wonderful!! When my uncle (dads brother who passed last year) had his 80th birthday party it was Kennedy’s only and I met so many of my Belfast relations for the first time. Now my baby (nearly 21) at uni in Liverpool has three best friends from Belfast – they are absolutely hilarious!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Jean the stew and soda bread is just perfect, I also read that corned beef and cabbage is an American tradition rather than Irish. The poem is beautiful and such a wonderful sentiment. A very Happy St Patricks Day to you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We love stew in our house, whether it’s with lamb or beef. Your Irish stew recipe is a fantastic one and makes a perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal with the soda bread. I hope you had a lovely day! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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