The Chef's Table

A Ballymaloe Irish Lamb Stew

(This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from “Irish Country Cooking” by Darina Allen, published by Viking Penguin, 1996, and “Emeril Live” episode #: EM1C04, 2005.)

1 ½  to 2  Pounds Shoulder lamb chop or other inexpensive cut of lamb
Salt (Both Kosher and sea)
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
1 Bottle Guinness Dark Draught beer or other dark beer
2 Pounds New potatoes, or other red skinned potato in large bite sizes
1 Pound (maybe a little more) Carrots cut into 1” bite sized chunks (carrots need not be peeled, unless you like them that way)
1 Large Red onion cut in large wedges (1 pint pearl onions work too)
4 Cups Lamb stock (see below for substitute)
4 tablespoons Dark roux (see recipe below)
½ teaspoon Basil
½ teaspoon Thyme
¼ teaspoon Chervil
¼ teaspoon Ground Sage
Finely chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

Lamb Stock Substitute:
In 4 cups of boiling water dissolve 1 teaspoon chicken base and 3 teaspoons beef base with 1 teaspoon sugar.

Dark Roux:
In a sauce pan over medium low to low heat melt 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter with 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, dash of freshly ground pepper and 2 dashes sea salt.  When butter is melted add 2 or more tablespoons of flour to make a medium density paste.  Continue slowly cooking roux stirring frequently to prevent burning until roux turns as dark as a milk chocolate, then set aside.  Do not rush this process as doing so will burn the roux and you will have to start again.  The roux may be made up to three days in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator.

The Stew:
Season both sides of the lamb meat with Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, thyme, sage and chervil and cover with plastic wrap and set aside.  Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and place in a large bowl.  Season the vegetables with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and the basil.  (You may even add up to a tablespoon of sugar to bring out the sweetness of the onion and carrots…..this kicks it up a notch or two.)  Toss the vegetables to coat them with the seasoning and leave in bowl until needed.

Heat a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium high heat.  Depending upon the amount of meat you have, add equal amounts of the oil and butter to the pot.  (A good guide is one table spoon of oil to one tablespoon butter for about 1+ pound of meat, and upwards of 2 tablespoons of each for two pounds of meat.)  The trick here is to have enough oil to prevent sticking, but not so much oil that you will end up with an oily stew.  Start with the smaller amount and add if necessary.  When the oil is hot, but not smoking add the meat and sear both sides until they are nicely browned; about 2 to 3 minutes each side.  Remove lamb and set aside.  There should be a small amount of oil in the pot.  If there is too much oil drain some off, but not all.  Add the beer and deglaze the pot, scraping any “crusties” off the bottom. Cook the beer for about one minute.  Add the lamb back into the pot and pour in the lamb stock.  Bring this to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover.  After simmering fifteen to thirty minutes add only the vegetables to the pot, but not the potatoes and bring the liquid up to a boil again, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover.  If there is not enough liquid to just cover the contents, add a little water just to cover.  Simmer for two to two-and-one-half hours and then add the potatoes, bring the liquid to a boil again, reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot.  Simmer again for about one hour, or until the potatoes are fork tender.  The lamb should be falling off the bone at this point.  Remove lamb and clean off the bone and any excess fat from the meat and discard the bone and fat.  Cut the lamb into nice chunks and return to the stew.

Stir the cold roux.  If the roux does not easily loosen from its pan, then simply add about one to two cups of the stew liquid to the pre-made dark roux and loosen it from the pan.  Once you have loosened the roux from the bottom of the pan, pour it into the stew and combine.  Be careful not to stir too hard as this will break up the potatoes, just combine it and allow to simmer, covered, for about another five to ten minutes.  The stew will thicken slightly.

Ladle the stew into bowls and top with the chopped fresh parsley.  A side of warmed crusty artisan bread and butter is great with this stew.  Also a freshly steamed green vegetable, like asparagus is a fantastic side making it an even better meal.

If you want to take this stew over the top then season the lamb with a little Steak Cameron from The Chef's Table in addition to the other spices and then wrap it and set aside.