Irish Lamb stew

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  Irish Lamb stew

 It’s the attention to detail that make this dish one of the world’s great classics. Of course, it’s a meal in itself, but for a special celebration, try serving it buffet style with steaming hot bowls of turnip mash or some colcannon. 

Irish Lamb stew

Serves 6-8 

Cooking time:


  • 900g (2lb) boneless lamb neck or shoulder, trimmed and cut into cubes
  • 900ml (1 ½ pints) lamb or chicken stock (homemade or made up from a stock cube is also fine)
  • 50g (2oz) pearl barley, washed
  • 225g (8oz) potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 225g (8oz) carrots, thickly sliced
  • 225g (8oz) leeks, well trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 225g (8oz) pearl onions, peeled
  • 100g (4oz) rindless piece of smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

To Cook

Place the boneless lamb pieces in a large heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole dish and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil, then skim off any scum from the surface and stir in the barley. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 50 minutes, until slightly reduced and the lamb is almost tender.

Add the potatoes to the lamb with the carrots, leeks, baby pearl onions, smoked bacon and thyme and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lamb and vegetables are completely tender but still holding their shape. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the stew into a warmed casserole dish and scatter over the parsley.

Serving Suggestions

Have dishes of the turnip mash with crispy bacon and onion and colcannon alongside and allow everyone to help themselves.