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Ballymalloe Irish Stew.

4 – 6 Servings

Darina Allen includes four recipes for Irish stew (one of them a pie filling) in her Complete Book of Irish Country Cooking (New York 1996)(a misnomer: It includes a decidedly urban recipe for Dublin coddle, a dish that Allen had not encountered previously). This is simple, if not as simple as white, or Ulster, stew, and superb.

Irish_flag.jpg- about 3 lb thick shoulder lamb chops, trimmed and cut in half (arm chops are better than blade chops; both are inexpensive lamb cuts)
- salt and pepper
- fatty trimmings from the chops
- about a dozen small (about 2” diameter) onions, peeled
- about a dozen new, small carrots, peeled (leave some green stem at the top if tender and wash very well)
- 2 ½ cups lamb stock if you have it, water (not another stock) if you do not
- 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 -5 sprigs fresh thyme if you have it
- white or dark roux, your choice, made from 1 Tablespoon each flour and butter (white) or oil (dark)
- 4 – 6 potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/3” thick
- 2 Tablespoons minced chives or scallions
- 1 Tablespoon minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 350°.

  1. Render the fat scraps over medium low heat until you have enough liquid fat to film the bottom of a large skillet; discard the solids.
  2. Increase the heat to medium high and brown the chops in batches on both sides; remove them from the skillet.
  3. Turn the onions and carrots in the hot fat just until specks of color barely appear on the onions; remove the vegetables from skillet.
  4. Layer the meat, then onions, then carrots in the ovenproof pot and repeat. The layers will not, and need not, be uniform. Season each layer generously with salt and pepper and some of the thyme (use it all of course).
  5. Deglaze the skillet with some of the stock over medium heat, then pour the stock and debris into the stew along with the rest of the stock.
  6. Arrange the potatoes in overlapping layers over the top of the stew (do not stir it) and salt them.
  7. Cover the pot and bake it for about 1 ½ hours; the meat should fall off the bone.
  8. Ladle some of the broth from the stew into a small pot, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, stir in the roux until incorporated, then pour the slurry through the potatoes back into the stew.
  9. Make sure the stew is hot and serve it with the chives, scallions and parsley.


- The addition of Worcestershire at Step 5 improves the dish.

- You can save a lot of time and bother by replacing the raw onions with twice as many (thawed) Birdseye frozen pearl onions.