In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m finally unveiling something I’ve been working on for a while. This a quick and easy but really rich and flavorful Irish stew.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about taking all day to make Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon: getting into the zone, peeling and cross-hatching the onions, cleaning the mushrooms, worrying over the temperature – it’s all great, but sometimes you just don’t have all day, or you need something that will be fine on its own in the slow cooker for about 6 hours. I’ve been working on this recipe for a while now, and I think I’ve got it just where we want it: a nice balance of flavors, and prep that comes in just under 45 minutes, then leave it alone for 2-3 hours and Bob’s your uncle, or rather, Joe Kelly is your best friend, and he loves this. He’s been known to lick the plate, which we don’t normally encourage, but Joe gets away with murder.
There are a few surprises in the ingredient list. I used to think that when it came to stews it was EITHER Guinness OR red wine, but then I found a recipe that combined the two (sadly, I cannot remember where I found it, and believe me, I’ve searched) and the result is fantastic. The tomatoes give it a nice zing, and the secret ingredient – blackberry jam (yes, really) – brings everything together beautifully.
One key step that absolutely cannot skip is the dredging and browning of the meat. It doesn’t matter what meat you use, and for one memorable round of this recipe testing, I used veal AND beef, AND lamb and Bozhe moi, it was good!
Luckily, that night we had invited a rock star….well, actually a podcast celebrity, but to us he is a rock star, over for dinner. He seemed ready to lick the plate as well, which pleased me immensely.
Be sure the meat is at room temperature before you pat it dry, dredge it lightly in some flour and salt and then work in batches to brown the meat, taking care that there is plenty of room for the meat to…I don’t know what it does, but it seems to like a lot of lebensraum in which to do it.
You can dress this up or down. The Urban Family enjoyed it recently with just a basket of fresh baguettes from Volkhonsky. You could also stick a bunch of filo dough on top and bake for about 25 minutes once it’s done for a lovely bring-to-the- table dish.
For best results, make the day before and let it rest. It also freezes beautifully, so go ahead and double the recipe while you are at it. You never know when Joe may drop by…
Joe Kelly’s Irish Stew
Readers, do you have a go-to weeknight favorite? Something that is just so gosh darn plate-licking good? Tell us about it by hitting the comment button below! Have you ever put blackberry jam in a stew? Do you think you will try it, or do you think I am crackers?
There are so many great Irish cookbooks, it’s hard to know which to recommend! I love Cathal Armstrong’s My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve
lyric storytelling in this mouthwatering ode to the country’s wonderfully diverse cuisine:[divider_flat]
I credit The Country Cooking of Ireland with my passion for game. The clear recipes and excellent photos take much of the mystery out of this sadly-neglected food group.[hr]
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