Tales from the Bonny Blue House

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Stobhach Gaelach

That is Gaelic for Irish Stew. I don't remember where I came upon this recipe. May have been my Nana, she liked lamb. I susbstitute beef for the lamb because the children hate it. If you make it today, put it in the fridge overnight. The longer the flavors have together in the pot the better, so this is a meal that takes very well to re-heating. It will be delicious. A few dioceses have rescinded the meat fast for St Patrick's Day. You are still obligated to observe the fast another day. If you choose to eat meat tomorrow this is a nice kid-friendly recipe that is a good alternative to Corned Beef. Irish Stew 1 pound of bacon roughly chopped 3 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder cut into about 2 inch pieces (if you do not like lamb you may use stew beef instead) salt and pepper to taste 3 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped 3 large onion peeled and roughly chopped 3 tablespoons of flour 1 cup of red wine several sprigs of fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 4-5 cups of beef broth - Homemade makes a big difference in taste, the canned stuff just isn't as good. 3-4 carrots cut into about 1 inch pieces 2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into about 1 inch pieces (to keep the peeled potato and its cube from turning dark on you place them into a bowl of water until you need to add them to the stew) In a large pot over a medium to medium high heat saute bacon until the fat is rendered and the pieces start to get crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon. Season lamb with salt and pepper and then toss with flour. Being careful not to crowd the pan saute in batches until meat is got a good brown color, removing each batch and setting aside (The meat can be a little underdone as it is going back in the pot to simmer later). After all of the meat is browned and removed, saute chopped onions until they start to soften, turn translucent and edges start to brown slightly. Add garlic and saute until it becomes fragrant and starts to soften. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add carrots and saute until they start to get a little color. They do not need to become soft because they will go back in the stew later. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. De-glaze pot with red wine. Add lamb, half of the onion/garlic mixture, the sprigs of thyme and bay leaf. Add enough stock to slightly cover the meat. When it comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook covered until meat is tender - About an hour and a half. When meat is tender add carrots, potatoes and remaining onion/garlic mixture. Cook until vegetables are tender - Close to 45 minutes. Serves about 6 (8 if a few are children). If you do observe the fast I have a winter vegetable soup recipe that is really wondeful. The Irish lived mainly on the sheep they raised sheep and the root vegetables they grew. Potatoes, until the famine, were the mainstay of their diet. This soup is hearty and filling. Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup 3 turnip roots, peeled and cut into large cubes 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large cubes 2 onions, peeled and cut into large cubes 1 large potato, peeled and cut into large cubes several cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly smashed olive oil salt and pepper to taste chicken stock (canned chicken stock is much better than beef. It is easily substituted here) cream Preheat oven to 400° Add all vegetables to a large roasting pan, toss with olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender - about an hour. Working in batches, puree vegetables in blender adding enough chicken stock to thin soup to the consistency you prefer. After all vegetables have been pureed smooth transfer to a pot on the stovetop. Add cream to your taste - between one half cup to a cup. Bring back up to temperature and season with salt and pepper again to taste.


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