Hello everyone, Jess here. Happy Sunday Dinner to you! I hope you’re weathering this cold without issue. I wanted to send a quick reminder to continue to send positive thoughts to the local trees. The message for said trees is, “The warm weather is only a smokescreen, don’t fall for it as the arctic air is still passing through. Don’t bud just yet, I’m talking to you, Peaches!”
This weekend’s CSA ingredients inspired tonight’s meal of an Irish Lamb Stew. The recipe itself was inspired by the version from Irma Rombauer’s classic The Joy of Cooking. The original recipe calls for 3 pounds of boneless stew meat, however I had 2 pounds of stew meat with bones, so I decided to improvise. Here’s how things went:
- 3 pounds of boneless lamb stew meat (I used 2 pounds trimmed of fat and bones, which I theb set aside)
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (3 times as much if you have it fresh)
- 3 small onions, slivered
- 6 medium potatoes, all peeled, 4 halved, 2 sliced
- 4 giant carrots, or more if smaller (about 2 cups 1/4 inch sliced)
- 1/4 cup pearl barley (I used Four Star Farms Hull-less version)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (I used High Lawn Farms)
- 3 cups chicken stock or water (I used stock)
- Preheat the oven to 325, Melt butter or warm oil in a dutch oven on the stovetop. Add onion and cook gently until the onion is softened but not browned.
- Stir in your boneless lamb and thyme. If you have bones, wrap them in a sack of cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine. Layer in slices of potato and then the potato halves. (If using, nestle the bones in the center). Pour the broth on top. Cover tightly and place in the oven for one hour. (If using hull-less barley, add in after about 30 minutes and return the pot to the oven.)
- After an hour, add your carrots and cream to the stew, along with barley (if you haven’t already).Cook for another 45-60 minutes until the barley is ready. Salt and pepper to taste.
After melting the butter in a dutch oven, I cooked the onion slivers in the pot slowly, stirring so as not to brown.
When the onion was softened, I added in the boneless lamb and thyme.
I didn’t want to lose the flavor of the bones and fat, so I wrapped them in a cheesecloth with some twine.
Next, the potatoes went in, slices on the bottom and halves on the top. (The slices will dissolve to thicken the stew, brilliant!) This all went into an oven at 325. Time to rest for an hour!
The carrots went in and I pulled out the bone sack and rested it on top of the stew, The cream and barley also went in at this point. (Had I to do it over again, the barley would have gone in 30 minutes earlier, as this barley took a bit longer to cook than pearl barley.)
After another 45 minutes, here is what I had! The sliced potatoes were fully dissolved into the broth, and the veggies were all deliciously flavored by the lamb.
While the stew was cooking, I whipped up some biscuits using the pastry flour. Here is the recipe from A Beautiful Plate that I love. In lieu of buttermilk, I used a cup of mixed cream and milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice to curdle, and it worked wonderfully!
The biscuits made a perfect accompaniment to the stew.
I had some summer blueberries from the chest freezer and Ben’s Maple Syrup puttering away on the stove as we ate. For dessert, the remaining biscuits were topped with the blueberry sauce and some home shaken whipped cream. What a happy ending!
Here is a photo of Alex’s deconstructed version.
It was quite a yummy meal I must say. Thanks to all who made it possible.