Starting very soon at work, a group of us will be doing "soups and stews" Mondays for lunch. The idea is that each week someone will bring a soup or stew, and the fixins, and everyone else will bring a bowl and spoon, and we will share a nice warm lunch together. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to bring for "my" stew. I finally decided that Irish Stew was the way to go, but I needed a test run. I scoured the internets, and found this recipe and also this one. Mainly sticking with the former, but adding some bits from the latter, I produced my first Irish Stew.
1ish lbs lamb* cut into 1-1/5 in pieces
4 large carrots
1.25-1.5 lbs baby red potatoes
1 small white onion (or in my case, enough granulated onion to be the equivalent)
2 cloves garlic (spanish) minced
1 can beef broth (about 16 oz)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1 bottle Guiness (12 oz)
Italian seasoning mix
Find stew pot big enough to hold the above. Peel and cut carrots into one inch chunks, and place in stew pot. Cut potatoes into one inch (ish) cubes and place on top of carrots. (I left skin on after washing b/c I like the skin, you may choose to peel). Chop onion or add onion granules. Mince garlic and add to pot. In a seperate bowl combine broth and paste and mix until smooth. Add this and beer to stew pot. Begin heating. While that is heating up, take cubed lamb and lightly flour. I did this by adding flour to a zippy bag and shaking a bunch. Brown in skillet w/ olive oil. Brown on all sides. Add to stew pot. Bring to light boil, then turn to 3ish on your oven so a nice heavy simmer is occuring. Simmer for 40 min-1 hour. Add water to sauce if becoming too thick (or more broth if you still have some).
-- The sauce wasn't quite right, so I added, and again, Tricia's patented not remembering to measure the spices occured, so I will estimate: 3-4 shakes worsestershire, 3-4 light shakes thyme, 6-7 generous shakes italian seasoning (until there was some over every sq inch of the top of the pot, but not TOO much), and 3 sprigs parsley from my parsley plant..equivalent to about 1 handful fresh chopped parsley.
--Right before serving, mix 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp cold water until smooth, and add this to the pot to thicken (adjust depending on how thick you like your stews)
This is a work in progress. It tastes good and I'll definately make it again, but it is not AS good as some I've had. This bothers me - I'm Irish. I now have a quest to create a very delicious irish stew. I think I needed a bay leaf. Also the original recipe called for a crock pot. Also the second recipe above calls for Guiness AND wine. I think that must be what I was missing :) I shall continue at my quest - and I think I need some field research. Anyone up for The Liffey or Kierens sometime very soon???
*A note on the lamb. I used it because I like lamb, but in going to the store I realized how expensive it is. I also realize not everyone likes lamb. Beef could be substituted, but I recommend finding a good marbled small roast or steak or something, vs just stew meat, to try to keep it tender.