I have quite a collection of Irish recipes and techniques, and they stay at the top of my favorites list. Most use simple, fresh ingredients and easy techniques such as roasting, baking, or stewing, meaning they’re quick to throw together. I love to pull this stew out let it simmer on the back of the stove while I’m doing other things.

I usually make a double batch, planning on leftovers. This is a classic example of a dish that’s even better the second day, and it reheats beautifully. You can even freeze it, tightly wrapped, for up to three months, and pull out dinner in no time.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 pound thick sliced bacon diced
  • 3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or boneless leg of lamb, well trimmed and cut into one inch cubes (See “Choosing the Right Cut” below if you need help picking out your meat.)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (fresh thyme is critical here)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • Optional – 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • Optional garnish – minced fresh parsley, lemon zest
  1. Instructions
  2. Over medium heat, in a large Dutch oven, cook bacon until brown and crispy, stirring occasionally under the fat is fully rendered. Drain bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt and pepper. Add lamb pieces, and coat evenly. Working in batches, shake off excess flour, and brown lamb pieces in bacon fat. Don’t add too much to the pan at once – or they’ll steam instead of brown. Be patient and add no more than a single layer at once, making sure the pieces don’t touch. As they brown, remove the brown pieces from pan and set them aside. Once finished with all pieces, drain any excess fat.There probably won’t be any. And if you run short of enough fat to brown all the meat, add a little olive oil.
  4. Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onion turns golden. If you’re using mushrooms, add them at this stage. Deglaze pot with water, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven, and add bacon, beef stock, white wine and browned lamb pieces (with collected juices) to the onions and garlic in the Dutch oven
  5. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. Add remaining ingredients to the pot, cover and simmer for half an hour, or until vegetables are tender. Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper.
  7. To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with just a sprinkle of fresh minced parsley or a tiny bit of lemon zest. This is really amazing with fresh, hot Irish soda bread, although a crusty baguette is almost as beautiful. Toss a quick, fresh, green salad and dinner is ready!