Monday, 12 November 2012

Recipe LXXIX - Irish Stew

The great comedian Spike Milligan once wrote:

"You must never bath in an Irish Stew.
It’s a most illogical thing to do.
But should you persist against my reasoning,
Don’t fail to add the appropriate seasoning."

And who could argue with that? This particular dish is too tasty to bathe in - I can't think of anyone who has ever eaten the contents of his/her bath, but it could be a new trend...
The ingredients of this dish are, like a lot of things Irish, a matter of hot dispute. The purists maintain that there is very little in it except lamb, onions and potatoes. But this is the 21st century and we can make our dishes a little more interesting, if just for the flavour.

A cut of lamb, usually the neck, but I used the shoulder because it had a lot of meat on it.
3 carrots
1 onion
1 fennel
4 potatoes
2 handfuls of green beans
500ml beef or lamb stock
500ml (or less) water
A sprig of rosemary

Take the lamb and cut it into manageable pieces - I cut them into 2-bite-sized pieces. In this way, you get to chomp off a bit of it later on the end of your fork. I love that.
Salt it and fry it in some oil in a casserole dish on a medium temperature. Once the lamb is sealed, add some rosemary to it. Then add the vegetables. Salt them and pour over the stock. Add some water if necessary.

Boil for between 90 minutes and 3 hours, checking every half-hour.

Serve in a wide, flat bowl.

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