Let’s Get Stewed

I love this time of year for many reasons. For one, everybody seems to be in a festive mood. Maybe it’s the excitement of the holidays, but for me it means that I get to break out the slow cooker. My wife will attest that I do not have many skills in the kitchen, but when it comes to my traditional Irish lamb stew, my family thinks I am a Michelin 5-star rated chef. It’s an old family recipe with my own twist thrown in.

Guinness Irish Stew
The secret is after searing the lamb; I braise it in a broth spiked with Guinness Ale. If Guinness is not your thing, I have also used a bold Cabernet to give it a rich taste that literally has the meat falling off the bone when it’s done.

•Season 3 pounds of lamb shoulder with salt and pepper, chop into 1-1/2 inch pieces, and then brown it in a large pot.

•Be sure the EVOO is very hot or the meat won’t sear properly.

•Set the meat aside, and then add 2 chopped medium yellow onions and 5-6 cloves of peeled and smashed garlic to the pot, and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get the brown bits to mix in.

•Stir in 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

•Add the lamb back to the pot and sprinkle it with 1/4 cup of flour, which will thicken the broth as it cooks.

•Cook and stir for a few minutes until the flour dissolves.

•Add 3 cups of beef broth, 1 cup of Guinness and herbs (sprig of rosemary, bay leaf) to the pot.

•Bring the broth to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Add 4 carrots chopped into 1 inch chunks, as well as 1 pound of small potatoes cut in half and continue cooking until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked, about 30 minutes more. Be sure stir the pot during the entire cooking time so the vegetables don’t stick to the pot or get too soft.

•The broth will thicken up nicely as it continues to cook. Right before serving, stir in the 1 cup of frozen green peas. They’ll defrost and cook right in the stew.

I like to serve this with some crusty bread and of course a cold pint of Guinness. Bon appétit.