So, everyone has their own “ultimate” version of a classic dish or a local speciality, whether it is Spaghetti Bolognese, chilli con carne or chicken fried steak (seriously I don’t know what that is, someone needs to tell me).
I thought it might be nice to share them.
Mine is for (surprise!) Irish Stew.
Serves 2-4 people, prep time 20mins, cooking time 60-90mins.
1- 2tbps Vegetable oil, for frying
500g/ 1lb lamb cut into bite size cubes- a cheap, fatty stewing cut (neck or shoulder) is best
1 leek- finely sliced (you can use onion or shallot instead but I like leek)
1 clove of garlic- chopped
2 or 3 carrots, peeled and chopped very roughly
1 large floury potato per person (the kind you’d make into baked potato) roughly chopped, peeled if you like
2 parsnips peeled and roughly chopped (add extra carrots if you can’t get parsnips)
1/4 head of shredded curly Kale cabbage per person (optional)
Herbs- I use a sprig of rosemary and a big bunch of thyme, but Bay leaves and parsley are also good.
500mls (1 pint) lamb or vegetable stock (a rough estimate, depends on the size of your pot)
Heat oil in a large pot (it needs to have a lid and would preferably be non-stick)
Cook lamb in batches until brown, remove from pot and put in a bowl- cover to keep warm
DO NOT DRAIN LAMB ON KITCHEN PAPER.
Add leek and garlic to pot, saute until soft
Add potatoes, carrots and parsnips to pot, stir briefly to mix with leeks and garlic
Add lamb and herbs to pot, stir to mix with vegetables
Add enough stock to cover lamb and vegetables
Put lid on pot, heat over low heat on stove or in moderately cool oven for 60-90 mins until lamb is tender and potato is soft and has partially disinteegrated into stock. Carrots and parsnips should be tender.
If using cabbage add this 2 minutes before serving and just allow to wilt, don’t overcook.
Season to taste, serve in bowls with bread and butter on the side to mop up the dregs (I use Wheaten bread, but any bread is good).
Good stew should need to be eaten with a spoon, not a knife and fork.