Irish Stew                                                  April  2018

Irish Stew

Wherever you go in the world you will find an Irish Pub, even in Frascati close to my families home. They all serve Guinness and most have their version of Irish stew.

This is bigT’s Irish stew, I have been making it since I was a student when Lamb was the cheapest meat in the butcher’s shop. 

Not any more, now its expensive and this dish is no longer an economical family meal. 

But it is delicious and it will go a long way.

In days past, Mutton was the dominant ingredient because the economic importance of sheep lay in their wool and milk produce and this ensured that only old or economically non-viable animals ended up in the cooking pot, where they needed hours of slow cooking, so stew was perfect, also many Irish homes did their cooking on a peat stove, peat is very slow burning again perfect for cooking stews.

When I ate the Italian Irish stew in Italy the chef had added some Black Olives, not a very Irish ingredient but they did add a pleasant saltiness, which works with the sweet lamb. I now sometimes add a handful to my stew. Keep an open mind and recipes just get better.

For 6 people you will need

  • 50 g butter
  • 8 lamb neck chops or a boned and cubed shoulder of Lamb
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 3 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves od garlic
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 150g pearl barley
  • A handful of black olives (if you want to try them)

How to cook:

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4.

Heat a large frying pan melt the butter and brown the lamb chops, and then set aside.

Peel and slice the onions, carrots, and celery, add to the same pan and soften for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large casserole dish

Add a cupful of water or white wine and deglaze the pan.

Peel and cube the potatoes, put in the large casserole dish with the onion, carrot, celery the lamb chops, thyme and bay leaves, then season well.

Sprinkle the pearl barley on top pour the deglazing liquid and 500ml of water or lamb stock into the casserole.

Cover and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender just before you serve check the seasoning and add the olives. 

You don’t need anything with this, it is a classic one pot family dish.

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Taste Collectiv Pesto

Some very nice people called the Taste Collectiv 

( sent me some of their excellent Pesto. Victoria and Mark started making authentic sauces back in 2014 after a trip from Rome to Venice where they had their moment of inspiration and decided to make Fresh Pesto like they experienced  in Italy.

When they retuned the two of them spent three nights a week eating their home made pesto so they could track down the best suppliers for the authentic flavours they found in Italy. 

And they succeeded, the Pesto they sent me was fantastic. I used it in a recipe I have been experimenting with for some time.

If you would like to try some of this excelent pesto logon to the link below.