I agree with earlier reviews: brown meat, caramelize celery and leeks, return meat to pan, sprinkle all with flour, stir and cook for about 1 minute, deglaze with brown ale like Newcastle instead of part of the broth. Add carrots and potatoes later, and a couple good dashes of Worcestershire. Nomnomnom.
Irish Lamb Stew
From EatingWell: February/March 2006
Lamb stew is Irish penicillin: a rich stew full of potatoes, leeks and carrots that'll cure whatever ails you. In traditional fashion, nothing here is browned first, just all stewed together. To keep it healthy make sure to trim the lamb of any visible fat before you cook it.
13 Reviews for Irish Lamb Stew
1. The lamb needs to be browned in a little oil first to develop that richness in stew. Remove the meat from the pot, then the leeks and celery should be sauteed for just a few minutes. Sprinkle some flour over the veggies and oil and cook for a minute or so to add thickness to the stew. Add the meat back, add some of the broth, and the carrots. I would wait to add the potatoes because they will disappear if cooked too long. You only need to cook this for about 2 - 3 hours, so add the potatoes 1 hour before the end of cooking time. This way, you will still have chunks of potatoes and not just a mashed mess.
I would also make it easier by putting the pot (dutch oven) with a lid on, in the oven at 325ºF. after it is put together in the beginning and cook it in the oven. More even cooking and you don't have to stir it regularly. Add the potatoes and finish in the oven. Easier and more even heating. I would serve with a good crusy bread too, to sop up all that lovely gravy.
This stew has a nice bite to it that warms you when you eat it. The lamb will just melt in your mouth and the vegetable combination including the leeks tastes so good! My husband and teenager kids loved it so much they want me to make it once a week! So healthy too! I served it with a chewey, crusty and warm whole wheat bread for dipping. This Irish Stew will definitely be a staple in my household! I added a little fennel seed and it added extra sweetness to the spice.
The recipe description mentions that as per tradition nothing is browned first......reading the reviews, perhaps the broth would be more hearty and flavorful if barley were added, this usually does the trick!
But also, maybe tradition needs to be broken here, too add better flavor to any dish, I usually saute root veggies(except potato), onions, leek, garlic, celery, spices S&P etc.... and brown meat in a pan, on medium high heat, before making a stew or soup. And the idea of dredging the meat in flour is a popular technique too. With a few tweaks this looks like a very delicious and nutritious meal. And the sauteing could easily be done directly in the slow cooker.
But what should not be sauteed initially are fine herbs(parsley, coriander etc) that are usually added just before serving.
I used lamb stew meat b/c I couldn't find the recommended cut in my local store. I took the time to do a very good job on trimming the fat away. The lamb was moist and tender after cooking. The flavor of the liquid was pretty bland so I added additional pepper based on other reviews. I may have overdone the pepper and the suggestion of adding wine I think would have been a better idea. I added 2 tablespoons of corn starch in 1/4 c water (maybe less) to thicken the broth in last 10-15 min of cooking time. My husband and oldest son ate it, but thought it was nothing special. My 10 yr old (extremely fussy eater) was willing to try the meat, but didn't like it. For the cost of the meat as compared to beef, they didn't think it was a winner and suggested I stick to beef stew.