So it was on the second full day that we decided to stop for dinner at a local pub. We had seen the signs for the Hairy Lemon every time we walked back and forth to the hotel since they were on the same block. Just the name alone got the better of us and we knew we had to give it a try. It was a very quaint place jam-packed with old mementos and signs from years’ gone by in Dublin. The place was quiet when we got there and we easily got a table. The server was very friendly, as every server we came across in Dublin was. We ordered drinks ( I had a Guinness, of course) and took a look at the menu. They had quite a large selection, including several traditional Irish meals. We both saw the traditional Irish stew listed on the menu and agreed that it sounded wonderful so we both ordered it. Neither of us was disappointed. What came out was a very large stainless steel crock (actually 2 crocks, one for each of us) on a platter with a very large baked potato and some homemade brown bread. The stew was absolutely amazing. The lamb was super-tender and just melted in your mouth and all the vegetables were perfect. The server said the vegetables came in fresh every day from the market the chef shopped at, and he picked out what he wanted so sometimes there was something different in the stew each time. This time, there were definitely parsnips in there and they were good. We both finished our bowls clean and devoured the homemade bread, which they bake fresh each day and sell by the loaf if you want to take some home. I could barely touch my baked potato, and it was a big one. I ended up eating about 1/2 of it, but it was cooked well and I enjoyed it. Neither of us had room for any dessert after.
I searched around on the Internet and have found that many of the Irish stews are basically the same recipe. although some use different vegetables or no other vegetable besides potato, so it is really your call as to what you want to make. Others also use a lot of beef broth to darken it. The stew we had was lighter but did taste of beef broth, so they must have used some. Try this one and see if you like it.
Traditional Irish Stew
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups leeks, sliced
1/2 cup flour
4 ounces butter
1 cup Guinness beer
3 cups beef stock
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon chopped
1 cup peas, shelled
1 cup leeks, sliced thinly
Oil for frying
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the lamb and brown evenly. Remove the lamb from the pot and set aside. Add the leeks and saute until soft. Add the butter and melt. Add the flour to make a roux. Turn the heat down to low, and cook the roux until it is brown, about 15 minutes. Whisk in the beer and stock. Add the reserved lamb, bring to a simmer, and cover. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
While the lamb mixture is simmering, combine the parsnips, carrots, potatoes and garlic in a large bowl. Toss with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and rosemary sprigs. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan and place in a 400-degree oven. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Remove the vegetables from the oven and discard the rosemary sprigs. Add the roasted vegetables and the peas to the lamb mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the chopped rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Add the thinly sliced leeks to a pot of heated oil and fry for 3 minutes, or until crisp. Remove the leeks from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season the leeks with salt. Garnish the stew with the fried leeks.
You could substitute some scallions for the leeks used at the end if you wanted to without frying them any, just chop them up and use them as a garnish. Either way I don’t think you can go wrong. I’ll definitely be trying this one at home myself.
We are just about done with our meals from Ireland. All we have left is our final day, which we spent entirely at the Guinness Storehouse at then at Whelan’s Pub for the show. I did get some recipes from Guinness while we were there which I will be posting tomorrow, and you can check my personal blog tonight for my account of the day we spent with Guinness. It was great! So, until tomorrow, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!