Thursday, 23 August 2012

Irish Pot Stew

Irish Pot Stew

I first tasted this dish in one my colleague's home at dinner. Monsoon was in full bloom and it was raining cats and dogs outside. I was half drenched when I reached his home. I was welcomed at the door by a wonderful aroma drifting down from his kitchen. I was almost transfixed, the aroma was so tantalising. My friends wife gave me a look and said " It's my home food, it's an Irish Stew". Believe me friends, I fell in love with that dish before I even saw it, leave alone tasting it. Till date, whenever I cook this stew, my sons react in almost similar manner, of what my reaction was. This was a hard time meal in old days and was cooked with neck pieces and leftovers of chops. But now Ballymaloe, that's the Irish name for the pot stew, is cooked with lamb or mutton.

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time      :  1 1/2 to 2 hours
Difficulty             :  Easy
Serves                 :   6

Ingredients :

  • 1 Kilo of Lamb or mutton, cut into chunks
  • 1 Kilo of Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 400 grams of Mixed veggies, cut into medium chunks (carrots, turnips, celery)
  • 2 tablespoons of Butter
  • 3 or 4 cups Water
  • 1/2 bunch Parsley, chopped
  • Salt  to season 
  • Pepper to season


    Method :

    1) Take a thick flat bottom casserole dish. Place it over very low flame.

    2) Once the pot is lightly heated add the butter, take care not to burn it.

    3) Lay one half of the potatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish. Cover with half the onions and half of the veggies.

    4) Add all of the lamb, and then layer in the rest of the onions and veggies.

    5) Top the onions with the remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

    6) Pour in enough water to come about 3/4 of the way up the ingredients.

    7) Set the pot over medium flame and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the potatoes have broken down and thickened the stew.

    8) Keep on checking in between and add water as needed to keep stew from becoming too thick.

    9) Once the meat is absolutely tender check the seasonings, adjust seasoning if necessary and serve with warm crusty bread to mop up the stew.

    Variations :
    Sometimes pearl barley is added to make an even more substantial and filling dish.

    Additional seasonings often used include thyme and rosemary.

    Sometimes some households add tomatoes, Worchestershire sauce, even beer to the stew. But the one I learned was the most basic, and that's what I posted here. You are free to do experiments.


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