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Irish Lamb Stew

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Comforting and warming Irish lamb stew recipe with potatoes, a cozy dish for a cold evening or to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

A nice warm stew is a perfect dish for this kind of weather we have right now. Cold, bleak, snowy… The kind of weather that makes me want to stay inside, drink lots of hot tea and only eat soups and stews. Like this melt-in-your-mouth Irish lamb stew.

I do make lots and lots of stews, so if in need of more stew ideas for this season, have a look at this Easy Pork Stew, this White Bean and Cabanossi Sausage Stew, this Hungarian Chicken Paprikash or this Korean Chicken Stew.

Irish stew was one of the first things I’ve ever cooked. I had a rather basic recipe from the Irish girlfriend of my employee, bought the ingredients: beef, carrots, onions, and potatoes, and started cooking. No stock or broth, just water, and salt. Not even a stock cube or anything.

The result? Tough, stringy meat and undercooked vegetables swimming in a pool of warm, tasteless water… I almost cried…

Thank God, my cooking skills have evolved during the past years. An Irish stew is a completely different dish nowadays: meltingly tender lamb pieces and soft potatoes, coated in a rich, flavorful sauce made with good quality beef or lamb stock.


You could make the stew either with beef or lamb.

The meat:

  • Boneless lamb shoulder.
  • I asked the butcher to remove the meat from the bone and took home the bone as well.
  • I cooked a nice stock with the lamb bone, some vegetables, and spices and only then made the lamb and potato stew.

The stock:

  • You definitely don’t have to cook your own stock for this recipe.
  • I did it because I had already paid for the bone, but otherwise, I would have used beef broth or stock or I would have bought some good quality beef or lamb stock.

How to make lamb stock?

  • Place the lamb bone in a large pot. You can roast it in the oven before at 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit until brown.
  • Add 3-4 celery sticks or one larger piece of celeriac, two large carrots cut in half, one large onion cut in half, 2 garlic cloves, 1 small leek or the greens of a small bunch of spring onions.
  • Add the spices as well: 10 black peppercorns, 4 cloves, 6 juniper berries, 5 all-spices berries, and 2 bay leaves.
  • Cover with water and bring to a boil. Add salt.
  • Immediately turn the heat down to low and simmer the stock, uncovered, for several hours. At least two hours, but above that is up to you, the longer you cook the stock, the more concentrated and tastier it will be. I usually cook it for 4 to 6 hours.

The vegetables:

  • You will only need two larger onions, some garlic, carrots and potatoes.
  • Additionally, some bay leaves and a little dried thyme, salt, and pepper.

How to make Irish lamb stew?

  • Cut the shoulder into small cubes. Make sure to pat them dry thoroughly with kitchen paper.
  • Sear the meat on all sides working in several batches. Don’t be tempted to sear all the meat at once, an overcrowded pan will cause the meat to release too much water and the meat will cook in those juices rather than frying.
  • Remove and repeat with the remaining meat adding more oil to the pan, if necessary.
  • When all the meat is out of the pan, cook the onion and the garlic. Return the meat to the pan, add the spices and some of the broth or stock, bring the Irish stew to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer the stew for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Check the meat at this point, it should be rather soft already. You could give it 10 minutes more if you find it too tough.
  • In the meantime, slice the second onion and chop the carrots and potatoes. Add the onion to the pot and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Add the carrots and the potatoes and continue cooking for another 25-30 minutes or until the meat is very tender and the carrots and potatoes are soft.

How to serve?

  • As you already have the potatoes in the stew, you will not necessarily need another starchy side dish.
  • Still, Irish soda bread would be perfect alongside a hot bowl of stew.
  • When it comes to vegetables, you could try some stewed white cabbage, roasted or boiled Brussels sprouts, or green beans.
  • The Irish stew can be easily reheated.

More lamb recipes?

Roasted Lamb Shoulder – a basic recipe for roasting a shoulder.

Pulled Lamb with Pomegranate Mint Yogurt – fall off the bone, pulled meat, slow-cooked in the oven, served with a refreshing mint and pomegranate yogurt.

Romanian Lamb Stew – incredibly tender pieces stewed in an aromatic sauce.

Basic Roast Leg of Lamb – the centerpiece on any serious Easter menu.

spoon lifting a potato from a full plate

Irish Lamb Stew

Comforting and warming Irish lamb stew with potatoes, carrots, and thick gravy. Perfect to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Stews
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 566kcal
Author: Adina


  • 750 g/ 1.7 lbs lamb shoulder boneless
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 875 ml/ scant 2 pints / 3 ¾ cups lamb stock or beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250 g/ 7 oz/ about 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 750 g/ 1.7 lbs potatoes
  • fine sea salt and ground black pepper


  • Cut the lamb into small cubes. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy bottom pan/ Dutch oven. Add some of the lamb cubes to the pan, you will have to fry the meat in several batches. Sear the meat on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the remaining lamb cubes adding more oil in between, if necessary. Remove the lamb from the pan.
  • In the meantime, chop 1 of the onions and the garlic. Cook them gently in the same pan for about 2 minutes or until the onion is golden.
  • Return the lamb cubes back to the pan and add only about 500 ml/ 2 cups of the broth. Add the dried thyme and the bay leaves. Lower the heat and simmer the stew, covered, for about 45 minutes or until the lamb cubes are almost tender. Stir occasionally.
  • In the meantime, slice the second onion. Add the onion to the stew, stir well, cover again and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
  • Chop the carrots, peel and cut the potatoes into larger chunks. Add them to the pot together with the remaining lamb or beef stock. Stir well. Cover and simmer for about 25-30 until the meat and potatoes are tender.
  • If you want the stew to be thicker, you could remove the lid during the last 15 minutes of the cooking time. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve as suggested above.


Serving: 1/4 of the dish | Calories: 566kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1155mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g
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Recipe Rating

mary anderson

Friday 8th of February 2019

it looks so easy to make recipe you make it so to the point with the ingredients and it looks so delicious!


Wednesday 6th of February 2019

Mmmm, this looks perfect for Saint Patricks Day, and it's just coming up soon!


Sunday 3rd of February 2019

So very delicious and I love the easy preparation too.