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Foods of Ireland: James Beard’s Irish Stew

James Beard’s Irish Stew


3 to 3-1/2 pounds lamb shoulder
1 pound neck of lamb
2 quarts water
1 medium onion stuck with 2 cloves
1 large bay leaf
2 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon thymeParsley sprig
3 thinly sliced medium onions
3 leeks split in half and cut in small dice
Additional bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 medium potatoes, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley


Have the butcher bone the shoulder and give you the bones. Put the bones and neck in a deep saucepan with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil and boil 5 to 6 minutes, skimming off the scum from the surface. Add the onion stuck with cloves, and the bay leaf, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a boil again, reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer 2 to 2-1/2 hours to a strong broth. Strain, and put in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, skim off the fat.

Remove all fat from the lamb shoulder and cut the meat into pieces 1 inch wide and 2 inches long. Put the meat in a heavy pan with the sliced onions, leeks, additional bay leaf and thyme, nutmeg, and enough lamb broth to come 1 inch above the meat. Bring to a boil, skim off the scum, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, 1 hour, then test the meat for tenderness. If it still seems a bit tough, give it another 15 minutes, then add the diced potatoes. Cook 30 minutes, until the stew is slightly thickened by the potatoes, then taste for seasoning. You will probably find it needs salt — 1 to 2 teaspoons should be sufficient — a few grinds of pepper, and a touch of nutmeg. Let this cook a little to blend with the stew, then add the chopped parsley and cook just 1 minute more.

Source: James Beard’s American Cookery by James Beard (Galahad Books)


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