Connemara Lamb Casserole

Connemara Lamb Casserole

Connemara Lamb Casserole

On the rare occasions I make this dish it reminds me of simpler times and ingredients. The recipe has stayed the same bar a few tweaks throughout my lifetime. Irish stew often appeared on our childhood dinner table, though back then a small amount of meat went a long way, even for nine of us!

Serves:

4
Course Main Course
Diet Child Friendly, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Sugar free
Servings 4 4 very hungry people or 6 med hungry people
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50-100 g butter
  • 600 g lamb shoulder or middle neck cut in 3-4 cm chunks
  • 100 g smoked bacon diced small
  • 20 g garlic finely chopped (2-3 large cloves)
  • 200 g onion finely diced (1 large)
  • 70 g celery finely sliced (1 stick)
  • 100 g leek finely sliced (1 med leek)
  • 20 g thyme leaves finely chopped (1 large bunch)
  • 600 g floury potatoes peeled and cut into 3 cm slices
  • 300 g young carrots cut if large
  • 700 ml fresh chicken or lamb stock or 1-2 chicken stock cubes
  • 30 g parsley finely chopped
  • 30 g chives or spring onion finely chopped
  • 50-100 ml fresh cream [optional]
  • Seasoning

Method

  • Heat the oven to 150 C. Lightly pat dry the lamb and bacon between sheets of kitchen paper then transfer to a bowl. Add olive oil and season lightly, gently massaging the meat.
  • Place a large flameproof casserole pot over high heat, add the meat and brown in one or two batches. Remove and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, melt in the butter, add the garlic and gently cook for 30 sec – 1 minute.
  • Next add the onion, celery, leek and thyme and gently fry for 10 minutes or until they have softened.
  • Return meat to the pot, along with one third of the potatoes and all the carrots, and stir into the stew. Cover with stock and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the remaining slices of potato across the top of the stew, pressing slightly into the liquid. Dot with a little butter and give a final seasoning of sea salt and ground black pepper. Cover and place in the oven to cook for about 1-1½ hours or until the meat is tender.
  • Gently stir in herbs (and cream if using) whilst checking the seasoning one last time.
  • Serve the stew right away or leave covered overnight in the fridge for flavours to develop.

Maggie's Tips

  • This is real comfort food on a wet wintery evening - which in Ireland can be in all 4 seasons.
  • Adding parsnips or cabbage or turnip will slightly adjust the flavour of the stew.
  • Add pearl barley or lentil and split pea mix for a heartier and budget friendly dish.
  • Like all soups and casseroles this stew tastes better on day 2 - even day 3.
  • Freezes really well.

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