In honor of the holiday celebrating all things Irish, I thought I'd share a recipe from my future family. Sean's grandparents hailed from County Kerry, Ireland (shown in this gorgeous National Geographic photo) and his grandmother, Nora, was famous for her stew.
It's still his comfort food; he's a real Irish eater. He would subsist on shepherd's pie if he could.
Some of my own roots are Irish, too, but my family mostly hails from Northern Ireland. My dad usually gets up every St. Patrick's morning to make homemade Irish Soda Bread, but tells me that's not happening this year. Unfortunately, I'm too busy to make the stew, as well, but I hope one of you has the time to try it!
Mrs. O'Brien's Irish Stew
- 1 pound of beef or lamb chunks
- 2 yellow onions coarsely chopped
- 4 medium-sized potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1/2 pound of carrots, either baby or cut into rounds
- 1 cup of green peas
- 1 cups of sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 4 cups of water or beef broth
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 3 tablespoons of corn oil (or other)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dash of soy or Worcestershire sauce as desired
- Cut potatoes in advance and put into bowl covered with water to prevent browning.
- Put oil into stew pot on stove top and heat on high until sizzling, then reduce heat slightly.
- Put the flour into a bowl. Season the meat chunks with salt and pepper and toss in the flour to coat.
- Put meat chunks into heated pot, adding a bit more salt and pepper. Keep stirring with a fork for a few minutes until meat is browned on the outside and some of the flour is sticking to the bottom.
- Reduce heat to simmer, pour in three of the four cups of water/broth. Put on lid and let meat simmer for at least 3 hours. THREE HOURS. But this part is key: do not add the veggies too soon or they'll be mushy.
- Add the veggies about 1 hour after you started simmering the meat. Peas and mushrooms can wait until the last hour of cooking.
- Check on stew hourly, making sure things are simmering, not boiling. Add more water/broth if you think it's needed. If it looks too think, mix flour and water in a cup and add to stew.
- After 3 hours, you are done and ready to eat!
- You have the option to add dumplings to the top of your stew. Sean's mom uses freezer case biscuits cooked on top of the stew for the last hour. If you do this, add plenty of broth because the biscuits will absorb a lot of the liquid. Serve when dumplings are dry inside, not gooey.