Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Irish Stew

Irish stew in the Farmgate Café, in The English Market, Cork:

First you need a proper stock.

You can use lamb (sheep less than a year old), but mutton (sheep at least 2 years old) is a better choice.

Put sheep bones in a large heavy-based saucepan with 1 large carrot (quartered), 1 onion (quartered), half a celery stick (quartered), 1 bay leaf, 2 large sprigs of thyme, a generous sprig of parsley, 6 black peppercorns (crushed) and 1 tsp salt. Pour in 3 liters water. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.

Strain and return to the pot. Reduce until 1,3 liters of stock. When frozen you can keep this three months.

Make the stew:

Cut a little less than a kilo of middle necks of mutton in small chunks or use together with bone. The meat will fall of the bone easily. Peel 1.3 kilo potato and cut in similar sized chunks, half floury (kruimig) potatoes and half waxy (vastkokend) potatoes. Peel 1 kilo carrots and cut into slightly smaller pieces. Slice two onions into thick rings. You can quarter the potatoes and carrot.

Put the mutton in a large saucepan. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Skim off foam, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the floury potatoes, carrots and onions. Season generously (salt & pepper) and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Add the waxy potatoes and half a tsp fresh thyme leaves. Simmer until mutton is tender. Take off heat and leave for another 15 minutes (don't stir).

Garnish with chopped fresh chives and parsley.
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