Irish Lamb Stew with Mint
Lamb, 2/3 kg ( 1 + 2/5 lb )
Onion, 3 cubed
Leeks, 2 sliced
Potatoes, 2/3 kg ( 1 + 2/5 lb ) small cubes
Carrots, 4 cubed
Beer, 1 can, stout
Materials and Methods
Lets start with blasphemy
I am not Irish nor I have ever been Irish.
So before you get angry at me, mind it that this is an Irish-free Irish Stew.
The fist (or second) blasphemy is that I am sautéing the lamb.
Stews are a delicious and weird beast.
You cook the food (usually tough meat) slowly with a minimal amount of foreign liquids (stock, wine, beer.. you name it). Low heat and closed lid: you must avoid losing vapor.
The end result is a flavorful liquid and tender meat.
By caramelizing the lamb I add an extra flavor to the end result.
Add 1/4 to 1/3 of the meat to a hot pan with a little bit of olive oil. Do not crowd the pan, do not stir the meat until at least 1 minute has passed. Stir and brown the other side for another minute or so then reserve the meat and do another batch.
Respect the ingredients
They all have different cooking times.
I like this order: Start with onions and meat, after a while add the potatoes and the carrots at the end.
Onions and leeks go into the pan and I lower the heat to minimum. I want to sweat them to deglaze all that tasty residue of the pan (calling it residue does remove a little of the magick, doesn’t it? Call it tasty bits at the bottom of the pan ).
When the onions are transparent return the lamb to the pan.
Liquid, potatoes and time
Add the liquid, I’m using a stout, if one can feels like it is too little add more or some water. It must almost cover the meat.
Add the cubed potatoes, and cover.
At this point I add 2 large dollops of my mint paste
It will take one and a half hours, minimum. Always check the level of the water and if it is not clinging to the bottom of the pan, add more liquid if necessary.
I use waxy potatoes for this (the frying kind) otherwise they will not hold shape and texture for that long.
3 minutes, only 3 more minutes
When you feel that the meat is very soft and the potatoes still have some texture left, It is time for the final touches:
Add some salt and pepper and the carrots. Don’t overcook the poor carrots, they didn’t do anything wrong! Poor little veggies.
Wait 3 minutes and it is done.
To serve I add another dollop of the mint paste
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