Traditional recipes for Irish stew use a tough, fatty cut of lamb and only potatoes, onions and herbs. This up-to-date version with lamb leg steaks is leaner, and more colourful with the addition of carrots.
500 g boneless lean lamb leg steaks, trimmed of visible fat and each steak cut into 4 pieces
1 kg floury potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large onion, sliced
500 g carrots, thickly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
pepper to taste
450 ml hot reduced-salt lamb or vegetable stock
chopped fresh thyme and parsley to garnish
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Preheat the oven to 160ºC. In a large casserole dish, make layers of the lamb, potatoes, onion and carrots, sprinkling each layer with parsley, thyme, chives and pepper. Finish with a layer of potatoes, then pour over the stock.
Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven to cook for about 2 hours or until both the meat and vegetables feel tender when tested with a skewer.
Increase the oven temperature to 200ºC. Remove the casserole lid and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the potatoes on top are golden-brown and crisp. Serve hot, sprinkled with more thyme and parsley.
Add 120 g whole small button mushrooms, layering them in the casserole with the onion and carrots. * If you want the cooking liquid to be slightly thickened, sprinkle 1 tablespoon pearl barley between the first few layers along with the herbs. * For a real taste of Ireland, you can replace half of the stock with Guinness.
Carrots are not traditional in Irish stew, but they are well worth including, both for their colour and flavour and also their nutritional properties. They provide vitamins A and C as well as potassium.