Thursday, March 15, 2012

Irish Stew

I know I said I don't usually plan theme meals for holidays, like Irish food for St. Patrick's Day, but I was browsing meal ideas online and came across an Irish Stew recipe and it sounded really tasty. I suggested it to SP and he agreed. We ended up not using the recipe I found online. Instead we used a recipe in The Joy of Cooking.
It's a lot of cubed lamb, sliced potatoes and halved potatoes, carrots, thyme, barley, and onions in chicken stock and Worcestershire.

The good:
  • easy to make, little active prep time
  • lots of leftovers
  • tasty lamb
  • tasty barley bits
The not-so-good:
  • our sliced potatoes didn't seem to 'melt' and thicken the broth as they should have
  • we quartered the potatoes placed on top instead of halving them but even so they were not cooked through after 2 hours
  • the carrots were not cooked through after an hour
  • needed more barley
  • we decided to add peas and instead of adding some peas SP added an entire bag of frozen peas which means there were way too many peas!
  • not quite as flavorful as we expected
There really is barley in the stew, hidden under everything else
What would we do different next time?
  • more barley
  • different potatoes (The recipe calls for boiling potatoes. It's possible the potatoes we had in the pantry that we wanted to use up were not the right kind of potatoes. They didn't melt or thicken the sauce and even after 2 hours simmering in the oven they were not cooked through.)
  • more Worcestershire
It was still a good meal, a filling meal. When I reheated the leftovers, I reheated them in a covered casserole dish at 350 degrees for an hour. The carrots & potatoes cooked more and came out much softer and tastier. I would make this again, adding more thyme and Worcestershire for extra flavor, but I also might choose to instead make a Lamb Shepherd's Pie since the ingredients are pretty similar and since the recipe from Cover & Bake is so flavorful. Then again, the Shepherd's Pie is more labor intensive than the stew.

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