Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Lamb Irish Stew

Spring has sprung! Atlanta is in bloom with dogwoods and azaleas brimming with color. Leaves are bursting from the branches, birds are chirping, Spring break is here and we're all feelin' gooood, right? Of course you are, and with Easter just around the corner I thought it might be quite appropriate to post a wonderful Spring recipe to suit the season. So, without further ado I give you... 'Spring Lamb Irish Stew'

Lamb is not just as readily available in the US as it is in Ireland, so it takes a little more effort to find the right cut, but the beauty about most slow cooked one pot meals are that they are suited to cheaper cuts of meat. 'Lamb shoulder chops' are very inexpensive, but loaded with flavor when braised and cooked properly, and there is nothing as quintessentially Irish as this stew. The staple dish of most Irish farms.

To be honest it’s been a very long time since I served this classic meal to my boys and I was a little dubious of their response, but delighted when they loved it. It’s a very nutritious meal and goes a long way, particularly if you have a pack of hungry boys to fill like me.

So, give this a spin this Spring time and see what you think! (Oh, and by the way, adding the potatoes in two batches allows the first for thickening the stew and the second to stay in chunks.)

It’s actually also great to prepare the day in advance if you have a busy schedule and need to plan ahead.

Judie the Irish Foodie!

(Serves 4)
• 2 Lbs. of gigot or shoulder lamb chops (bone-in)
• 1/2 kosher salt
• ½ tsp. ground black pepper
• 2 Tbsp. flour
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 2 Lbs. (about 6 medium potatoes) (peeled and diced in to 1’ chunks)
• 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
• 4 medium carrots (peeled and cut in to 1 ½’ chunks)
• 1 pint (2 cups) water (Condiments)
• Rosemary Salt (1 Tbsp. sea salt to 1 tsp. finely chopped Rosemary) • Parsley (finely chopped)
• Olive oil ( to drizzle)

1. Peel and dice potatoes and carrots. Place in a bowl of cold salted water.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Trim off any visible fat from the lamb chops. Combine flour and salt and pepper. Coat chops in flour mixture. Heat oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet and braise chops in small batches. Transfer meat to base of an ovenproof dish.
4. Sauté the onion in same skillet used for the lamb for 3-4 minutes.
5. Transfer the onion and half of the potatoes on top of meat.
6. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
7. Add the rest of the potatoes and carrots and simmer covered for another 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
8. To serve remove bones from chops and stir meat and vegetables to combine. Place in individual bowls and garnish with rosemary sea salt, chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.