How To Make Traditional Irish Stew
How To Make Traditional Irish Stew
Purists will argue that a real Irish stew consists only of mutton, onions and potatoes but the reality is that any combination of carrots, potatoes, celery, turnips, swedes, parsnips, leek, kale and cabbage are perfectly acceptable – and traditional – additions to an authentic Irish stew. Here Donal is sharing his family recipe.


Casserole Pot (Dutch Oven)


  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil (canola oil)
  • 2.25lb lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into small chunks
  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 32oz beef or lamb stock
  • 32oz potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
  • Good knob of butter
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Slices of white bread, to serve


  1. Place a large, flameproof casserole pot over a high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and brown the lamb pieces in two batches. Remove and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium–high, add another tablespoon of oil and fry the onion, celery and carrot for 4–6 minutes or until the onions have softened.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C /325°F/Gas Mark 3.
  3. Return the meat to the pot, along with the bay leaf and stock, season with sea salt and ground black pepper and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and push the slices of potato down into and across the top of the stew, 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 1½ hours or until the meat is tender, then remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes until the potatoes have coloured.
  4. You can serve the stew straight away or leave it covered overnight in the fridge for the flavours to develop, then reheat. Serve in deep bowls with slices of white bread to soak up the liquid.


  • If you are not into Lamb or it is hard to come by just go ahead and use Beef Tips or chunks.  It isn't traditional but go for it. 
  • "knob" of butter just means a good chunk of butter.  A bit more than a tablespoon.  It's a holdover from back in the day cookbooks when it was assumed the cook had skills already. You can see he drops on a bunch of small chunks.
  • You can tell he doesn't actually use 2 tablespoons of butter.  He really pours it on the bottom.  Enough to "fry" up the lamb chunks.
Author, educator, musician, dancer and all around creative type. Founder of "The Happy Now" website and the online jewelry store "Silver and Sage".

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