Wednesday, June 04, 2014

In the kitchen - Irish Stew

Over the weekend we had a sort out of our freezers, we have three! Yes, three, a necessity when you raise your own meat, a full beefie beast takes up a lot of room, then add a lamb or two and a pig, well that adds up to a good years, if not more, supply. Of course over the year that dwindles down and that is what has happened here. Freezers aren't the most economical things to run, especially if they aren't full. A good idea is to fill up those gaps with bags of ice, the added bonus to this is that you never, ever run out of ice for your G&T's! Win, win all around! 
So, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, meat! As we sorted through it all and condensed it down to the smaller chest freezer & the up right freezer, I thought it would be a good opportunity to make an inventory. It seems that we have rather a lot of lamb, well it's hogget really, slightly older and tastier we reckon. What to do with all that lamb? Cook it and eat it silly!

On the Menu today....Irish Stew.
I found the recipe here
 Ingredients: (I reduced this recipe by about half, enough for two meals for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200g smoked streaky bacon, preferably in one piece, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 900g stewing lamb, cut into large chunks (I used neck chops)
  • 5 medium onions, sliced
  • 5 carrots, sliced into chunks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • small bunch thyme
  • 100g pearl barley (I used a soup mix with lentils etc)
  • 850ml lamb stock
  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
  • small knob of butter
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced (I didn't have these but I had some baby turnips)
Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. I used a slow cooker. crock pot
Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Sizzle the bacon for 4 mins until crisp. 
Turn up the heat, then cook the lamb for 6 mins until brown. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon.
 Add the onions, carrots and herbs to the pan, then cook for about 5 mins until softened. Return the meat to the pan, stir in the pearl barley, pour over the stock, then bring to a simmer.
 Sit the chunks of potato on top of the stew, cover, then braise in the oven, undisturbed, for about 1½ hrs until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. The stew can now be chilled and kept in the fridge for 2 days, then reheated in a low oven or on top of the stove. Remove from the oven, dot the potatoes with butter, scatter with the spring onions and serve scooped straight from the dish.
I put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker on low, then turned it up towards the end to boil some of the liquid down.
Yum! A hearty dish indeedy.
I rarely follow a recipe exactly, I don't always have the exact ingredients listed and I often substitute once thing for another and add extras. Be adventurous, live a little!
The beauty of using a slow cooker is that you can put in on in the morning and just forget about it, leaving the rest of the day for you to do what you darned well like.
For me it was getting the binding on the two quilts I want to take to craft tomorrow
And that's me sorted for tomorrow, I might even get a chance to cut some lovely new fabric for a new quilt, I don't want to be overly ambitious though.
I'm off to watch My Kitchen Rules, I'm fascinated by the programme's ability to find so many ghastly people and some are soooo modest too! 

I hope to get around to your blogs soon, I'm woefully behind, sorry.

That's it, see ya ♥♥



  1. Looks tasty & when you have Irish blood in your veins you have to like Irish stew. Have tomorrow at sewing all the binding in place.

  2. Your cooking sounds like mine, always substituting for ingredients I don't have! That stew looks good, it's been great weather for meals like that. I love that reassurance of having the meal cooking while I craft away!

  3. I love stew! although mine is Scouse, which is stew but they all have their own names don''t they? and mine is quite different to how my Mum makes hers - it is the smell of winter and tastes even better the next day x x x

  4. Yum ... I'm suddenly very hungry!


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