Ultimate Irish lamb stew

Lamb may usually be associated with spring but I love the warm sweetness of this dish on a cold and windy January weekend. Buying bone-in meat is absolutely key here. As the lamb cooks, the bone will help to thicken the sauce and give it that deep flavour that only the best stews have.

Serves 4

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 kg bone-in lamb shoulder
1 large leek, thickly sliced
3 small red onions, sliced
Leaves from 4 thyme sprigs
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 litre chicken stock
3 medium carrots, thickly sliced
3 large floury potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
Leaves of 1 head of Savoy cabbage, cut into thick slices
Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped (to serve)

Take the lamb out of the fridge an hour before you start cooking. Rub a generous amount of salt and cracked black pepper on to the meat.

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large, high sided pan and then sear the lamb on all sides until golden brown. Hold it in place with tongs so that you can get a nice colour on all the surfaces of the meat.

Remove the lamb from the pan and set it to one side. Turn the heat on the pan down to low and fry the leek, onions and thyme for around 10 minutes or until thoroughly softened and lightly coloured. Add the garlic for another few minutes and cook until you can smell the flavour being released.

Add the lamb back into the pan and pour over the chicken stock, add the carrots and bring to a boil before turning the heat to a low simmer. Cook covered with a lid for two hours, occasionally flipping the lamb so that all sides get braised in the broth.

Take the lamb out of the pan and place into a large bowl or platter. Cut the meat from the bone in large chunks and add the meat back into the pot. Scrape as much meat from the bone as you can before returning the bone and any remaining lamb back into the pot.

Add the potatoes into the pan and top up the broth with fresh water if it’s looking too dry. Cook covered for another 45 minutes or until a knife easily pierces the potatoes. 10 minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the cabbage so that it cooks but still retains some bite.

Serve in warmed bowls with a sprinkle of flat leaf parsley.

Image via Flickr