Ground Lamb Stew
February 3, 2015
The recent rash of cold weather (DUDE, what do we know about having temps in the single digits in Mississippi???) has lit a wicked craving for Irish stew. Now traditional Irish stew has nice, meaty chunks of lamb. Not something readily available in my small town grocery store. But I did find ground lamb, so I decided to use that as my base. One benefit of this version over traditional Irish stew is that it’s FASTER. You’re browning the lamb to start with, so you don’t have to wait for the meat to cook through. As additional inspiration, I took the Le Creuset Dutch Oven Crack (the fantabulous Beef Stew With Mushrooms and Bacon that I made when I first got my precious Le Creuset dutch oven) and started tweaking. I wanted a rich, hearty stew, loaded with root veggies with a lovely savory broth to pair with Irish soda bread.
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 8 slices thick slices bacon
- 6 cups beef stock
- 5 carrots, peeled and diced* (note, depending on the size of stuff, you should have about the same amount of diced carrots as parsnips when you’re through)
- 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
- 1 12 oz. bag frozen pearl onions
- 6 average russet potatoes, diced (not the ginormous bakers, just an averaged size potato)
- 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbs minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tbs kosher salt
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
- Brown the lamb, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. You want things to get a bit caramelized. Caramelized means FLAVOR!
- Cut the bacon into chunks and cook in a large dutch oven until crispy and remove with a slotted spoon.
- Pour the bacon grease into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons back to your dutch oven..
- Add the carrots and parsnips and saute until just starting to caramelize.
- Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the stock, scraping up all those lovely brown bits.
- Add the lamb back to the pan.
- Add the rest of the stock, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and thyme. Bring the mixture back to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add another tablespoon of bacon grease to a skillet and heat over medium heat.
- Add the pearl onions and mushrooms and saute until softened.
- Add the reserved bacon, onions, and mushrooms, along with the pepper and salt to the dutch oven and cook for another 20 minutes.
Serve with a big warm hunk of crusty Irish soda bread (which, btw, you should start as soon as you set the stew to simmer in the first place–the oven should be preheating while you put the stew together).