Perfect for busy evenings when you don’t have much time, this Easy One Pot Irish Lamb Stew is quick to prepare and uses only a few simple ingredients, but definitely doesn’t skimp on flavour!
The ultimate one pot meal
If you are a regular here, you’ll know I am a big fan of easy one pot meals – and they don’t come much easier than my Easy One Pot Irish Lamb Stew. There is so little prep! Simply place a few simple ingredients in a pot, pop it in the oven and ignore!
An hour later, and you have a totally delicious meal ready and waiting for you. Not to mention a house that smells amazing!
What’s in a traditional Irish lamb stew?
To create my easy lamb stew, I did what I usually do when re-creating traditional recipes and scoured the internet looking at traditional Irish lamb stew recipes.
And, as with any similar recipe, I found nearly as many recipes as there are cooks! But the things that nearly all the recipes had in common were:
- Pearl barley
Which makes sense as Irish Stew is essentially ‘peasant food’ (aren’t all the best recipes?) and these are cheap, filling and easily obtainable ingredients. In fact, some of the recipes I looked at were even more basic – just lamb, potatoes, stock and onions!
I have tried to respect the ethos of such a traditional dish by sticking to this simple list of ingredients, but just pepping it up a little with a couple of bay leaves and a sprig of time. Adding just a small amount of herbs, really does take this humble dish up a notch – but feel free to leave them out if you prefer.
Is pearl barley essential in Irish Stew?
I had always assumed pearl barley was an essential ingredient in Irish stew, but looking at all the recipes online, I discovered about half of them didn’t include pearl barley.
Personally, I love pearl barley and it’s a great way to bulk out this stew (which means you can serve more people with less meat and so save a few pennies). But if you are not a fan, just leave it out – it’s not essential.
Do you need to fry the lamb first for Irish Stew?
No! Most of the recipes I looked at didn’t include this step. And, to be honest, I have tried frying and not frying lamb before adding it to a stew and it really makes no difference to the final flavour of the dish – all it adds is extra preparation time!
And this dish is so tasty in its own right (especially with the addition of the herbs), there is absolutely no reason to even think about adding in extra steps!
And you know me, so long as it doesn’t impact on flavour, I’ll take any excuse to make the cooking even easier!
Can you use beef instead of lamb in Irish Stew?
Absolutely! The majority of recipes I read called for lamb – and personally I think using lamb makes for a tastier stew. But If you are not a fan of lamb, beef works just as well in this recipe.
What to serve with Irish Stew?
The beauty of Irish stew is that it is a complete meal all on its own as it includes meat, potatoes and vegetables. As a result, it makes a great quick and easy meal to have on a busy weeknight, with only one pot to wash!
However, if you want to have the full Irish experience and/or you are in need of a big carb overload, then this stew is absolutely delicious with soda bread.
You can find several soda bread recipes on Easy Peasy Foodie:
Or check out my NEW Easy White Soda Bread recipe, which is what you can see in the photos here!
If you are feeling in need of a few extra veggies, this Irish Stew is delicious served with green veg, such as cabbage, broccoli and peas.
What to drink with Irish Stew?
Well, the best match with Irish Stew has got to be Irish beer! Personally I think a bitter or pale ale goes better than Guinness here, but if you really like Guinness, then go for it – it’s certainly not a terrible match.
If, like me, you are more of a wine drinker, then I would suggest either a Cotes du Rhone or a Rioja Reserva. This really isn’t white wine food, but if it has to be white wine for you, then go for something like an oaky Chardonnay – nothing too light or aromatic.
Can Irish Stew be reheated the next day?
Definitely – in fact, flavour-wise, Irish stew tastes even better the next day. The downside is the vegetables do tend to get a little soft and the potatoes usually disintegrate a bit, but in my book that’s a reasonable price to pay for extra deliciousness.
Any leftover stew can be placed in a plastic container in the fridge and will keep for up to 3 days.
To reheat Irish stew, simply place the stew in a saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the meat and veggies are piping hot all the way through.
If you are deliberately making this stew ahead of time, then I would recommend cooking it for 15 minutes less than it states in the recipe below – that way you won’t end up with overly soft vegetables and disintegrating potatoes when you reheat it.
Can Irish Stew be frozen?
Yes, it can – but, as above, you will find the vegetables get softer and the potatoes tend to break up. You can freeze Irish Stew in a plastic container for up to 3 months.
Defrost fully before reheating. Reheat as above.
Can Irish Stew be cooked in a slow cooker?
Yes, it can! Simply cook for 6- 8 hours on low. See the recipe notes below for more detailed instructions.
If you like my Easy One Pot Irish Lamb Stew…
Then you might like these similar recipes:
Easy One Pot Irish Lamb Stew
- 600 g diced lamb
- 4 medium potatoes peeled and cut into large pieces
- 3 medium carrots peeled and cut into large pieces
- 2 onions peeled and cut into thick wedges
- 2 sticks celery sliced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 700 ml hot lamb or beef stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 50 g pearl barley (optional)
To serve (optional):
- Soda bread
- Green vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and peas
Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C fan/ gas mark 4 / 350F.
- Place all the ingredients into a flameproof casserole dish. Place the casserole dish on the hob and bring to the boil.
- Put the lid on the casserole dish and place the stew in the preheated oven. Cook for 1 hour. (See notes 1 & 2 for alternative cooking methods.)
- Remove the casserole dish from the oven and serve with soda bread and/or green vegetables.
(1) To cook on the hob, place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Put a lid on and turn the heat down low. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
(2) To cook in a slow cooker, place all the ingredients in your slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low.
(3) Suitable for freezing.
(4) Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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