There’s something so hearty and comforting about an Irish style lamb and stout stew simmering away on the stove. It’s a perfect dish for a blustery or rainy day; a fire in the hearth and your favourite sweater. The house filling with the sweet, aromatic tang of cloves and the heavy warmth of stout beer.
Many years ago, I was working in an Irish pub in my hometown where on the menu was a hearty beef and mushroom stew served over mashed potatoes. It was one of that establishment’s signature dishes and making it by the batch became a second nature to me. This is what inspired me to come around to what I’m sharing in its present form.
As not everyone in my house is 100% great at digesting beef and potatoes, I decided a little shuffling of cast members in this classic piece was in order. Beef became lamb, which if you think about it, makes more sense for such a dish. Turnips easily took the place of potatoes. Turnips don’t thicken a stew quite as well as potatoes, but that can be adjusted with adding more flour (see the recipe).
You could use store-bought stewing meat (lamb or beef) but you’d be missing out on the lamb stock that helps make this dish. Store-bought stocks can work in a pinch, but there’s something so fulfilling about making stock from scratch. Check out the pro tip on the website; give it a try; you’ll see.
As for what type of stout to use for a lamb and stout stew, this was trickier than expected. I looked about for a while and finally found one that didn’t have extraneous flavours attached to it. I had no idea stout needed to be blended with espresso and chocolate and such in order to sell. When in doubt, the tried and true champion of stouts from Dublin, Guinness will prevail.
Lamb & stout stew
- oven-safe frying pan, medium sauce pot, large soup pot, oven, stove
- 3 lbs lamb leg trimmed and diced into 1/2"
- 2 whole onions diced into 1/2"
- 1 lb mushrooms washed and cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 cups stout save some for yourself….
- 2 whole turnips or potatoes if you like
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup flour
Butcher and trim….
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Start up a batch of stock on the stove in the medium sauce pot. See the pro tip on this site for details.
- Break down the boneless lamb leg into sewing sized chunks; save the trim in the small frying pan.
- Sprinkle a bit of salt on the lamb scraps and place it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes while the stock on the stove comes to a boil.
- Peel and chop the onions into 1/2" dice. Add the skins and butts to the stock pot.
- Once the lamb scrap is browned off, add it and all its fats to the stock pot and let simmer at least another 10 minutes.
Let's get it together….
- Heat the large soup pot over high heat. Toss in the butter, salt and pepper.
- As soon as the butter starts to brown, add the lamb and flour. Stir it until the lamb is browned and coated with the flour.
- Add the onions and stir until they begin to soften. Add the cloves. Bask in the glory of their aroma….About 1-2 minutes.
- Add the wine and stout; stir until well mixed. add the turnips.
- Take a moment to enjoy a few sips of the bit of stout you set aside for yourself.
- Remove the stock and strain it off into the stew. Stir thouroughly and let the whole lot come to a gentle boil.
- Once it reaches a gentle boil, pull it down to a simmer and let it run, stirring occasionally for about an hour.
- Add the mushrooms, stir them in and remove the stew from the heat.
- Let stand for about 20 minutes before serving or overnight in the fridge.