Irish Stew (must be St. Patrick’s Day again!)

March 14, 2011

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Time for the cows to come home and crack a few bevies because March is here, which means everybody’s Irish on the 17th! Awesome long-time readers of le Citrus and Candy would know that St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favourite holidays of the year and a regular fixture on my culinary calendar. Because there’s nothing that this robust girl loves more than hearty, manly stews. It’s all about the meat but when brawn meets beer? Ooh baby!

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The humble stew is something I’ve grew with just as much as laksas and one of the first things I learnt to make when I was a wee child. We may have been an ‘Asian’ family but Mother Superior definitely knew how to whip up many a beef stews for the kiddies which we would attack like crazy with baked strips of puff pastry to lovingly soak up the gravy. We loved our Brit food and beef so this was like a special treat for us, usually served on nights when the parentals were going to hit Perth’s Burswood Casino, leaving us in the care of Big Bad Bro. Mean ol’ bastard use to make my sis and I wash all the dishes for him! Sometimes he’d make up for it by bringing out the blankets so we could all play “princess” together, other times, the parents would just come home to a whole lotta tears and tantrums.

Aah memories…

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Anyway, you certainly can’t think of Irish food without thinking of Irish Stew. Oh my gawd, I love this stuff in all shapes and forms but always with a good sloshing of extra stout and a deadly serving of spuds (ummm carbs). As with most stews, following a recipe strictly to a point is totally unnecessary because you can throw in anything you want (except the kitchen sink) and it’ll always cook up beautifully. So take my recipe with a grain of salt because I may or may not have measured 100% accurately (I never do for ye olde stews oops), but rest assured that no matter what you choose to do with it, it’ll turn to a big pot of hearty, meaty goodness.

Final lesson: don’t forget the extra pints of stout to wash it all down with!

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Irish Stew
Serves 6
  1. 700g beef chuck, diced into 2cm pieces
  2. 700g deboned fatty lamb, diced into 2cm pieces (leg, shoulder or neck)
  3. 1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1cm thickness
  4. 8 cloves of garlic
  5. 4 Tbl (1/4 cup) of plain flour
  6. 140g tomato paste
  7. 375ml of Guinness Extra Stout
  8. 1 L of beef or lamb stock (or a combo of the two)
  9. 1.5 Tbl of worcestershire sauce (magical stuff, I add it in everything lol!)
  10. Bouquet Garni – 4 sprigs of rosemary, 6 sprigs of thyme, 3 bay leaves – tied together
  11. 2 large carrots (about 450g), peeled and chopped into 1.5cm pieces
  12. 5-6 large waxy potatoes (about 800g), peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces (soak in cold water if preparing ahead)
  13. 1-2 Tbl sugar (or to taste)
  14. 1-2 tsp of salt (or to taste)
  15. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  16. 1 Tbl freshly chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
  1. In a casserole pot, heat up some oil, then brown the beef and lamb in small batches until evenly seared all over. Remove and set aside while you brown the rest but keep the beef and lamb separate.
  2. Add another dash of oil in the same pot, then sauté the leeks and garlic until softened.
  3. Add the beef and all the meat juices. Shower over the flour and stir to coat (don’t worry when it starts to look grossly gluggy). Cook for a minute or two.
  4. Add the tomato paste, Guinness, stock and worcestershire sauce and stir, making sure to scrape the bottom. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to the lowest, add the fresh herbs and simmer gently for about an hour.
  5. Add the lamb, carrots and potatoes and simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour or until the veges are cooked and the meat is tender. Remove the bouquet garni and add the sugar, salt and pepper and season to taste.
  6. Serve immediately (or even better, the next day) with crusty bread and garnish with parsley.
  1. • Do not trim all the fat off the lamb because this will help keep the meat tender and flavoursome. But make sure to simmer the stew slowly. If you cook it too rapidly it will break down the meat and fat into the stew and make it overly greasy.
  2. • Irish Stew traditionally contains lamb but feel free to substitute with anything you like. The meat is also not normally browned so skip this step if you wish to save time.
  3. • I like using a combination of beef and lamb stock in the stew. I do this by simmering lamb leg bones in a ready made beef stock for about an hour to give it an extra oomph in flavour. But if you only have beef, then that is totally fine too.
  4. • Lamb doesn’t take long to cook and tenderise so that’s why I always add it after the beef. Beef normally takes around 2-2.5 hours depending on the cut and thickness and lamb takes around 45-60 minutes.
  5. • Feel free to change it up or adjust the ingredients and measurements whether it’s changing the stock, meat, veges, or adding more or less sugar, salt or beer (more beer I say!). The beauty of stews is that it’s totally versatile.
Citrus and Candy
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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmen April 15, 2012 at 22:37

Very fine! I like the recipe and I like the Fotos.


Katie March 15, 2012 at 10:44

I am definitely planning on making this on Saturday! What if I want to make it in the morning and let it cook all day? Is that possible?


Citrus and Candy March 15, 2012 at 17:27

Hi Katie! Absolutely! It needs a longish cooking time anyway or you could use a slow cooker. And between you and me, it actually tastes the best the next day ;) So I usually make it the day before and stick it in the fridge overnight. Then I skim off the fat off the top and warm it gently in a slow oven till it’s all hearty and awesome :)


gobsmack'd April 16, 2011 at 06:41

Hi Karen, Oh dear, E**** certainly NEVER told me about blankets and playing princess? No doubt he was the Queen to your Princess!! Pun intended. Har de har har har. ‘Big bad bro’? Really?


Citrus and Candy April 16, 2011 at 17:22

Hahaha oh dear. Please don’t mention this published trip down memory lane to him :S


Rhonda March 21, 2011 at 23:35

this looks perfect for the rainy days we've been having… doggy tagged!


JasmyneTea March 17, 2011 at 12:03

Looks filling and warm:) I just bought some James Squire Pale Ale, think it might go well in this dish? I'm hoping it will add a bit of a nutty flavour. Great recipe!


catty March 17, 2011 at 10:57

I have to say that one of the reasons i love stews and casseroles is that you can't go wrong. put whatever! whenever! cook for long time! YUM!!!! :)


mlle delicieuse March 17, 2011 at 03:16

Happy St Pat's Day, Ms Candy!

I, too, am eyeing off the cast iron pan and am wondering if it is shallow enough to allow for the baking of a jumbo cookie within…?


Gareth March 16, 2011 at 10:20

Now this looks like a feast for the eyes, soul and mind. Would you just look at the glistening carrots and juicy chunks of lamb. I used to make this back home in Britiain a lot with a couple of suet and parsley dumplings. So so good. Enjoyed the photos too.


B.H. March 16, 2011 at 08:01

your photos are phenomenal! definitely one the best food photography I've seen on an aussie blog. i love a good stew but not with guinness tho, murphy's all the way!


@bellyrumbles March 16, 2011 at 05:16

Irish stew is a popular dish at our place love making potato bread to go with it. Might be due to Mac being Irish. Looks fantastic Karen.


Susan March 15, 2011 at 01:22

Stews are the best things in the colders months. I love all types of one pot meals and this looks delicious!


Ellie @ KitchenWench March 14, 2011 at 10:30

That looks absolutely sensational!! I wish my mother was more o-fey with other cuisines – it would have been great to grow up knowing about dishes like this! Instead, I'm now almost 30 and I've never had an Irish stew…but after reading this post, hopefully that will be rectified soon!


YaYa March 14, 2011 at 10:25

We always used to “Asianise” our Irish stews by throwing in some star anise and a few other things but the base of meat, carrot and potato was always there!


Maria March 14, 2011 at 09:07

Great recipe! I'm looking forward to cooler weather and hearty stews :-)


laura March 14, 2011 at 02:48

karen, this looks incredible. woah, yummo!


spicyicecream March 14, 2011 at 02:30

Mmmmm, stew has got to be the ultimate comfort food (and one of the only reasons not to hate winter!) although I'm still in denial that it's autumn and I'm convinced we will get at least one more stinking hot week this summer! Beautiful photos as always! :)


Parsley Sage March 14, 2011 at 01:20

YUM! This looks like meaty heaven! Thanks for sharing :)


Steph March 14, 2011 at 00:28

YARM. This is exactly the type of dish I crave in the cooler months, I think I'll have to throw something similar together in my new slow cooker! I want your cast iron pan.


citrusandcandy March 14, 2011 at 04:22

The cast iron pan is from Castle Hill and it was only $12! Next time I'm there I'll get you one :D


john@heneedsfood March 14, 2011 at 00:18

I could eat this kind of food any day. Who needs a dainty salad when you can have this!


Christine March 14, 2011 at 00:16

Looks great! I loove making stews, especially with gravy beef. I like how you just toss everything in the pot and then a couple hours later you come back and there's tasty stew! I love this recipe – will have to try making my own stock some time (i'm lazy and I just use the store-bought stuff lol).


Cooking Gallery March 13, 2011 at 23:51

This stew looks beautiful and so mouthwatering…! Beautiful photos too :D)


chocolatesuze March 13, 2011 at 23:26

mmm stew it baby yeah!


Three-Cookies March 13, 2011 at 18:35

Looks very flavourful and delicious. Its a reminder that I haven't eaten stew for years now!


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