Monday, March 16, 2009

Irish Stew

A hearty stew made with lamb shanks and vegetables, perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

Irish Stew

So just in case you've missed it, I have been cooking up a storm over the weekend for our St. Paddy day series. We first made Irish Soda Bread and then some Creamy Potato Soup and our next dish in the St. Patrick's Day meal line-up is an Irish Stew. Coming up is Corned Beef & Cabbage Hash too!  Click the recipe links to check them all out.

I have no idea of the authenticity of this stew, or any other so-called Irish Stew, since it appears that even the Irish may dispute what exactly is authentic and what is not. It does appear that lamb, onion and potatoes are the 3 main ingredients for an authentic Irish Stew, and here we clearly meet that. Anything else is lagniappe in my opinion!

To prepare this stew, I just went to my friendly neighborhood Rouses Market and asked the butcher for some lamb shanks. He grabbed a leg of lamb and went and sliced off the shank and cut it into chunks for me. Now I love Walmart, don't get me wrong, but ya ain't gettin' no real butcher at Walmart. At least not around here that I'm aware of, though I do admit - I have no idea if those folks running around the meat department in white coats at Wally World are actual butchers or not, but I'm pretty sure that all of the meat at my local Walmart comes in prepackaged just like you find it in the meat case.

I don't generally buy meat at Walmart. Or seafood since most of it is foreign - I mean I can't even get American packaged crawfish at Walmart even down here, where we have an abundance of fresh crawfish! Buy Wild American seafood folks, demand it in fact... but that's another post for another day.

Anyway, having a butcher at my beck and call, that's just one thing that I love about Rouse's Markets - they actually do the cutting and packaging right there. So, you know it is FRESH. Well, that and the fact that not only do they carry some great specialty meats, freshly created and packaged right there in-house, but they also carry all the Louisiana products that are near and dear to my heart, like my Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning! So if you're local to south Mississippi, please consider shopping at Rouses and if you're not, support your local grocers wherever you are!

Back to the stew.

The lamb shanks are so tender and delicious in this stew, but if you have some objection to using or difficulty with finding lamb, you could certainly substitute pork or a good stewing beef. I highly recommend the lamb shanks - and hey, it we are celebrating St. Patrick's Day, right? Well, this little ole Irish lass is!

As with most stews, this should only improve in flavor and thicken over time - so it's probably ideal if you can make it a day ahead. The bowl pictured was shot right out of the pot. Either way, I think you'll really enjoy the flavor of this wonderful stew and hope that you consider making it. Here's how.

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Posted by on March 16, 2009
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