St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Irish Lamb & Potato Stew

Just in time for St. Paddy’s Day entertaining, chef Kristina San Filippo demonstrates an Irish Feast class with tasting on March 14 at her Purple Spoon Culinary in Bonita Springs. The menu includes seasonal salad featuring specialties from local farmers and Irish accents, braised lamb and potato stew, and apple and cheddar bread pudding.

“The Irish style stew is perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day feast, and such a delicious dish for introducing people to using lamb in braising recipes,” she says.

Cost for the demo and progressive dinner, including a glass of wine, is $68. Class participation is limited to 20. Can’t make the class? Try the chef’s recipe for a classic Irish stew at home.

Irish Lamb & Potato Stew Recipe, courtesy of Chef Kristina San Filippo, Chef & Owner of Purple Spoon in Bonita Springs (recipe makes 6 to 8 portions)

  • 3 pounds lamb stew meat such as the shoulder or leg meat cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup or more grapeseed oil or organic vegetable oil
  • 2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or ¼ cup beer
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable stock, plus more if needed to keep the stew moist while cooking
  • 3 pounds fingerling, red or Yukon potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • Chopped chives or parsley for garnish

Season the meat generously with kosher salt and fresh pepper. Select a large pot with a tight fitting lid that will be appropriate for a long slow-cooking time on the stove or in the oven.  Heat the pot over medium high heat on the stove; when hot add enough grapeseed or vegetable oil to coat the pan.  Place half of the meat into the hot pan leaving at least half an inch of space between each piece (**see note).  Sear each piece of meat on two sides to a medium brown texture.  Remove the meat to a bowl.  Cook the second half of the meat in the same manner; add more oil to the pan if it seems too dry.  Move this second batch of meat to the bowl with the first batch.  Keep the heat on under the pan and add the onions.  Sauté until the onions are browned and tender, about 2 minutes.  Pour the vinegar or beer into the pan to deglaze; use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any fond that has built up on the pan. Stir in the dried herbs, salt and stock; bring mixture to a simmer.  Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pot, nestle the meat into the sauce so it is partially submerged. Cover the pot with its lid at this point.

To continue cooking the stew on the stovetop, reduce the heat to low and plan for about 1 to 2 hours for the lamb to simmer and the meat to become very tender.

The covered pot can also be moved to the oven and cooked at 325 F. convection for about 2 hours. 

For either cooking location be sure to check the meat every 30 minutes to stir things around and add more liquid if the mixture seems too dry.  As the meat braises it will release a lot of its own liquid and the meat will shrink in size, so you may not have to add more liquid during the cooking process, but it is best to check at intervals just to be sure.  Once the meat is very tender when pierced with a fork (but the meat pieces are still holding together, not falling apart) and the sauce has darkened in color the stew is just about ready.  At this point add the potatoes to the pot and re-cover.  Continue cooking the stew on the stovetop or in the oven as you were before.  Once the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork the stew is ready to be served; this will take between 12 and 20 minutes depending on which cooking medium you are using and type of potato you are cooking with. Taste the broth and add more sea salt if desired.  Ladle the meat, potatoes and broth into serving bowls; garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.

**Leaving half an inch of space between the pieces of meat will allow for plenty of space for the steam to escape from the meat as it heats up.  If steam is trapped between the pieces of meat it will boil the meat instead of searing it. Starting with a good sear – the dark brown crust that develops on the meat that is in contact with the pan – is essential to develop flavor for a braising recipe.  The meat can be cooked in two batches for this initial searing step if the pan is too small to allow for adequate space between the pieces of meat.

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