This is my version of this traditional Irish dish, similar to the Finnish Karelian stew in its extremely simple preparation method.
about 700 g lamb (or preferably mutton) gigot chops with bone, or other bony cuts
2 medium carrots
about half a medium rutabaga
1 - 2 medium onions
butter or oil
3 - 4 large potatoes
a few sprigs of thyme
(a couple of bay leaves)
Peel the onion, halve it lengthwise and cut the halves in thick wedges. Peel the carrots and cut in smaller, rough pieces. Cut the rutabaga in thick slices, peel the slices and cut in smaller pieces.
Peel the potatoes and cut in thick slices.
In picture on right: vegetables for Irish stew onion, rutabaga, potatoes and carrots.
Trim any excess fat from lamb/mutton and cut the meat in chunky pieces. Briefly brown the meat cuts in a hot pan. Set aside. Sauté the onion wedges in a little bit of butter or oil until slightly browned. Browning the meat and onion makes the stew more flavourful.
Cover the bottom of a deep oven casserole dish with a layer of potatoes and place a layer of meat, onion, carrots and rutabaga slices on top. Add one or two thyme sprigs (and bay leaves, if using any), some salt and a few peppercorns.
Repeat the layering with the rest of the ingredients, placing a layer of potato slices on top (see the picture on right). Add some more salt and peppercorns. Pour cold water in the dish enough to almost cover the ingredients.
Cover the dish and bake at 150 - 170 °C for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is thoroughly tender and falling off the bone. Before serving, sprinkle the stew with some chopped parsley. Using deep plates, place some meat pieces and vegetables on each and ladle the hot stock on top. Serve with some good bread and butter.
To reheat any leftover stew, moisten it by adding some meat stock, cover the dish and warm in oven.
Recipe source: adapted from traditional Irish recipes.