Posts Tagged 'irish'

Traditional Irish Stew

Irish Lamb Stew

Ok, first of all: “Irish Stew”, in the traditional sense, is never made with beef and it does not involve Guinness! (See here for a delicious Beef & Guinness Stew.) Traditional Irish Stew is the most simple of dishes, consisting of lamb, vegetables, stock and little more. It’s a perfect example of how good quality ingredients can taste amazing when cooked very simply. Some purists might baulk at the idea of putting carrots and thyme in an Irish stew but that’s my version. Give it a try.

I roasted a shoulder of lamb recently and got it together to make an excellent stock from the bones, which I then put in the freezer for later use. Lamb stock has quite a strong flavour and is not as “all-purpose” as chicken or beef stock; it is generally used only in lamb dishes. The stock is well worth the effort and you can use it as a base for this stew. If you don’t have any, just use light chicken stock.

Serve with some soda bread on the side.

Ingredients

  • 12 small lamb chops ( I used loin chops, you could also use an equivalent amount of neck or gigot chops)
  • 10 medium sized potatoes, halved
  • 4 sticks celery, quartered
  • 4 large carrots, washed but unpeeled and quartered
  • 1 litre lamb or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp pearl barley
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Trim some of the excess fat from the chops. Melt the fat in a large cast-iron casserole and add the chops. Fry until golden and reserve. Por the fat out of the casserole and de-glaze with some of the stock.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in the casserole, then top up with water to just cover the meat and veggies. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Cover the casserole, bring to a gentle simmer and leave for 1½ – 2 hours. Check the seasoning and add some chopped fresh parsley.

Serves 4.

Leftovers

  • If treated right, leftovers can be more impressive than the original meal. To the leftovers of this stew I added 500ml of hot vegetable stock and whizzed with a stick blender. I added some frozen peas, broad beans and some chopped flat-leaf parsley. The results were superb.

Traditional Beef and Guinness Stew

Beef in Stout

This dish is great for Sunday lunch, you have to try it. I use a full litre of stout and gently simmer on the hob for around two and a half hours. The sauce reduces and meat becomes really tender. No stock cubes needed here! Eat with plenty of floury spuds, a cut of bread, or a pint of the black stuff.

Ingredients

  • 125g streaky bacon, cubed
  • 1kg stewing beef (such as round steak), cubed
  • 2 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 litre stout
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, washed but unpeeled, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato pureé (optional)
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry the streaky bacon until golden. Transfer to a large cast-iron casserole or heavy stewpot.
  2. Brown the beef. Toss the beef in the seasoned flour. Add a little more oil to the frying pan and fry the beef in batches until caramelised. Make sure you do this  in batches so as not to overload your pan. Transfer the browned beef to the casserole.
  3. Add a little more oil and fry the onions until caramelised. Add to the casserole.
  4. Pour some stout into the hot frying pan to de-glaze it. As the stout bubbles, scrape at the bottom of the pan to remove any caramelised juices from the bacon and the beef. Add the rest of the stout and de-glazed juices to the casserole.
  5. Now, assemble the rest of the dish. To the casserole, add the celery, carrot, tomato pureé, Worcestershire sauce, stock, herbs, salt and the rest of the stout. Season with  plenty of freshly ground pepper. Stir well and place a lid on the casserole but leave a large crack to allow the sauce to reduce. Bring up to a gentle simmer and leave for about 2½ hours (check after 2 hours). Give the casserole a stir every so often to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the casserole. Taste for seasoning and add a little extra salt if you need.

Notes

  • You could use shin beef for this. Just trim a little of the fat from the meat and add at least an hour to the cooking time to allow this tough meat to tenderise. The extra fat in the meat will melt out, giving a rich and unctuous sauce.

Serves 4.

Brown Soda Bread

Brown Bread 1

Right, time to take a break from the Indian recipes – this blog is turning more “peshwari naan” than “toasted special”…

Subscribers will know that I’m a rather reluctant baker. I can’t stand shaping sticky dough or pastry so I tend to gravitate towards simple breads and cakes that I can mix and throw into a tin before baking. I like this recipe because there’s no shaping necessary – just mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, combine and pour into a greased loaf tin.

I’ve been making my own brown soda bread for years and have tried countless recipes. This originally started off as a Darina Allen recipe (taken from a GoodFood magazine) but I’ve taken on board Richard Corrigan’s suggestion of adding porridge oats and treacle to give a richer flavour and colour. (Do try Corrigan’s soda bread recipe also, it’s very rich and delicious. Probably more suited to dinner than breakfast as it’s so heavy on the salt and sugar. Great with a creamy potato and leek soup.)

You could also add wheatgerm, extra bran or sunflower seeds to this for a change.

Ingredients

  • 225g coarse wholemeal flour
  • 225g plain white flour
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 450ml buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil (or 25g butter)
  • 1 tbsp treacle

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
  2. Sift the white flour into a large mixing bowl along with the salt and bicarbonate of soda. Add the wholemeal flour and use your hands to give the flour a good mixing.
  3. Add the egg, sunflower oil (or butter) and treacle to the buttermilk in a measuring jug. Mix well.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently and quickly. The dough will be quite wet.
  5. Transfer to a greased 2lb loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Wrap in a tea-towel (prevents the loaf from drying out) and leave to cool a little before cutting. Coat with butter and serve with a few rashers. 😉

For more (yeast-free) Irish bread recipes, check out my Soda Bread and Griddle Bread posts.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

This bread is made in homes all over Ireland. It uses bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent and the buttermilk gives it a subtle tang.

Ingredients

  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300-350ml buttermilk

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 230°C.
  2. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork to ensure the salt and bread soda are well incorporated into the flour.
  3. Add 300ml of buttermilk and mix through the flour. Add another 50ml if necessary. You want a soft dough, but nothing too wet and sticky.
  4. With floured hands, turn the dough out onto a floured board. Knead the dough into a round loaf but don’t overwork it.
  5. Place the dough on a buttered and floured baking sheet. Cut a cross in the top of the dough. According to legend, this allows the fairies to escape.  (No, I don’t believe it either…)
  6. Place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 200°C and cook for a further 25 minutes.
  7. Remove the bread from the oven and wrap in a tea towel and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack before cutting. Slice and serve coated with salty butter.

If you want to try another type of traditional Irish bread, try my Griddle Bread recipe. It’s much quicker to make and very moreish.

Irish Griddle Bread Recipe

Bread making doesn’t get any simpler than this. (Oh dear, I’m starting to sound like those clowns on Masterchef). Griddle bread, as it’s known in my house, is a simple soda bread dough, but instead of being cooked in the oven, you cook it slowly on a non-stick frying pan or a cast-iron “griddle”. This is quite a traditional bread and is a great standby when you haven’t a scrap of granary left in the house. One warning though, once you cut this loaf you’ll keep going back to it until you’ve none left. It’s addictive!

I like my griddle bread “well done”. Cook gently until the surface of the bread is starting to blacken in places. As the bread cools, it gives off the most amazing toasty aromas. There’s something about it that reminds me of cream crackers. Surely not a bad thing?

For a traditional Irish bread that’s baked in the oven, try my Irish Soda Bread recipe.

griddle_bread_1

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • buttermilk, enough to make a very soft dough (about 250ml-300ml, as a guide)

Method

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, then add the buttermilk and mix gently until you have a soft, wet dough, but be careful it is not too “sloppy”. Heat a dry frying pan, then turn down the heat low and dust the pan with plain flour. Wet your hands then add the doughto the pan. Gently smooth out the dough to cover the pan then cook slowly on both sides until brown patches start to develop. This should take at least 8 minutes on each side. Cool on a wire rack.

Coat with plenty of salty butter and enjoy, this is great with your Saturday morning fry-up.

griddle_bread_2

Shepherd’s Pie

All of us food bores know that real shepherd’s pie is made with minced lamb. If it’s made with beef, it’s cottage pie. According to the ever-reliable (!) Wikipedia, the term “cottage pie” has been around since 1791, where leftover beef would be used by the poor cottage-dwellers as a pie filling. “Shepherds pie” came along about a hundred years later, as a cheekily-named lamb equivalent.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with minced lamb left over from a roast. The pie in these pictures comprises not only the leftover lamb, but the leftover gravy too; this gives the pie a rich and deep flavour. I’d go so far as saying it’s worth roasting lamb joint just to make this pie!

Ingredients

  • 500g minced lamb, leftover if possible
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, chopped
  • 250ml beef stock, or leftover gravy topped up with water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • 900g potatoes

Method

  1. If you’re using leftover lamb, chop it finely rather than mincing it. This ensures there’s a bit of texture in the finished dish. Heat a little olive in a pan and brown the lamb and onion. Add the carrot and celery and fry for a minute more.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the potatoes) and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for about 30 minutes.
  3. While the lamb filling cooks, pre-heat the oven to 200°C and prepare your spuds. Boil the potatoes until tender, then mash with a little milk and plenty of butter and seasoning. You could also add an egg yolk which will enrich the mash and give it a great golden colour while it browns.
  4. Transfer the lamb mixture to an oven-proof pie dish. Spread the mash on top and use a fork to make a rough surface. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the pie is golden brown. Serve with some piccalilli or some buttered peas.

Shepherd's Pie #2

Variations

  • Roast Lamb – Add 2 minced garlic cloves, a teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary and a glass of red wine while you’re frying the lamb. Serve with minted peas on the side. All the flavours of a classic lamb roast in one dish.
  • Cottage Pie – Substitute the lamb for beef and add a small bottle of stout and reduce. Some finely chopped thyme would be a nice addition to this also.

Serves 4.

Irish Stew

I roasted a shoulder of lamb recently and got it together to make an excellent stock from the bones, which I then put in the freezer for later use. Lamb stock has quite a strong flavour and is not as “all-purpose” as chicken or beef stock; it is generally used only in lamb dishes. The stock is well worth the effort and you can use it as a base for a delicious Irish stew.

Irish stew is the perfect example of how good quality ingredients can taste amazing when cooked very simply. Lamb, vegetables and a good stock can produce a magical flavour. Some purists might baulk at the idea of putting carrots and thyme in an Irish stew but they give a great flavour. Give it a try.

Irish Stew

Ingredients

  • 8 small lamb chops ( I used loin chops, you could use neck or gigot)
  • 6 medium sized potatoes, halved
  • 3 sticks celery, quartered
  • 3 large carrots, quartered
  • 750 ml lamb or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp pearl barley
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Trim the excess fat from the chops. You can leave the chops whole, but I like to cut each chop into large pieces.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a large cast-iron casserole or pot, then top up with water to just cover the meat and veggies. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Cover the casserole, bring to a gentle simmer and leave for 1.5 – 2 hours. Check the seasoning and add some chopped fresh parsley.

Serves 4.

Irish Stew

Leftovers

If treated right, leftovers can be more impressive than the original meal. To the leftovers of this stew I added 500ml of hot vegetable stock and whizzed with a stick blender. I added some frozen peas, broad beans and some chopped flat-leaf parsley. The results were absolutely wicked.