BALLYMALOE IRISH LAMB STEW (for four)
3 pounds lamb shoulder or boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1 pound small onions, peeled and root ends trimmed
1 pound carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
2-1/2 cups lamb stock or chicken broth
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 pounds small boiling potatoes, peeled and, if desired, halved
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Roasted beets with stout and sauteed beet greens to accompany
- Preheat the oven to 350*.
- If you are trimming the leg of lamb yourself remove, but don’t discard, excess fat. Cook fat in a large, heavy skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Discard solid bits. If you are having the butcher trim the meat, ask him to save excess fat for you. If no lamb fat is available, substitute equal amounts of butter and olive oil,
- Pat lamb dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown in fat in 2 batches over moderately high heat and transfer to a dish. Saute onions and carrots in fat, tossing to coat, 1 minute, and remove skillet from heat.
- Arrange half of lamb in an ovenproof 4-quart heavy pot and top with onions and carrots, then remaining lamb, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Put stock in skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits. Pour stock into pot and add thyme.
- Arrange potatoes on top and season with salt and pepper. Bring liquid to a simmer and cover pot. Transfer pot to oven and cook until meat is tender and vegetables are cooked through, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. (Alternatively, stew may be simmered gently on stove).
- Holding back solids with lid, pour liquid from stew into a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Spoon off and discard fat.
- Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat and add flour. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in hot liquid and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and chives. Pour liquid back into stew and reheat.
NOTE: Stew is best made a day ahead and can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cool completely, uncovered, before chilling, covered.
adapted from Darina Allen, The Complete Book of Irish Cooking