My husband and I travelled to Ireland for our honeymoon back in 2006. We went in October, but the isle was as Emerald as one could possibly imagine. It’s no wonder Ireland is so green, given the amount of rainfall it accumulated in a year. Lucky for us the weather was gorgeous – a bit damp on a few days – and the nights were cool. Just as they should be for hanging around pubs drinking Guiness and eating Irish stew.
Now that it is March, we start thinking about Ireland again as the calendar inches closer to St. Patrick’s day. It’s still quite chilly, so my thoughts turn to this Irish beef stew.
Darina Allen, owner of the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland, uses bone-in slices of lamb shoulder, which can be tricky to maneuver. I like to use boneless lamb shoulder or leg, for it is easy to cut and cook and has a marvelous flavor. For a true Irish feast, make a batch of this Irish soda bread and serve it with some salty Irish butter.
- 2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 bag pearl onions, peeled *see NOTE
- 4 large carrots, thickly sliced or a bunch of baby carrots
- 1 16-ounce bottle stout beer, such as Guinness Draught
- 3 cups low-sodium beef stock
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound new potatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives