This dish is big on flavour and courtesy of Rachel Allen, a cook, cookery writer, TV presenter and lover of great real food, which she taught Jen to create at Ballymaloe Cookery School .

If you can’t find “gigot chops” or “muton neck chops” look for other cheap stewing lamb cuts like middle neck or scrag. 

Rachel says, “There are endless versions of Irish Stew. Some people say you should just have white vegetables in it, some people add 1 or 2 tbsp of pot barley in at the start with the stock.”

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

    • 1 – 1 ½ kg gigot chops with bones attached or mutton neck chops
    • 3 tbsp olive oil or 3 tbsp of the lamb or mutton fat that you’ve put into the hot casserole or saucepan to render down
    • 4 medium carrots, peeled and quartered or 12 baby carrots, scrubbed and left whole
    • 12 baby onions, peeled or 4 medium onions, cut into quarters through the root, which should keep the quarters intact
    • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled (not traditional, but Rachel loves garlic in Irish Stew)
    • 15 g butter
    • Salt and pepper
    • 600 ml lamb or chicken stock or water
    • 8-12 potatoes, peeled
    • Sprig of rosemary or a large sprig of thyme
    • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped chives

     Method:

      1. Cut the chops in half, not taking off the bones.

      2. Heat the oil or fat in the casserole until it’s very hot and toss the meat in it until it’s nice and brown.

      3. Remove the meat to a plate and cook the carrots, onions and garlic in the oil or fat for a couple of minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper while sautéing. Put the meat back in with the vegetables.

      4. Add the stock and season again.

      5. Put the potatoes on top and simmer gently, either in the oven at 160°C/325°F/gas 3 or on the hob, until the meat is cooked, about 1 ½ hour, though it might take longer.

      6. Pour off the cooking liquid, degrease, season if it needs it and pour back over the stew. Add the herbs and serve.

      NOTE: Pot barley is similar to pearl barley but less refined.

      NOTE: If the potatoes are quite small, add them in 20-30 minutes after the stew starts cooking.

      NOTE: To degrease the juices if you don’t have a maisgras, add a couple of ice cubes to the strained liquid. The fat should rise up to the top, spoon it off and discard.

       NOTE: If you like, you could thicken the juices with some roux.

       

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