For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

SLO Irish

May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.
~Irish Blessing

It's St. Patrick's Day and I'm counting my blessings on this blustery, stormy day.
I have a roof over my head, food in my cupboard, and I'm able to satisfy my craving for something warm and delicious to eat. 
So I offer up this hearty recipe of my version of scrumptious Irish Stew, satisfying on any rainy day of the year. 


4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 pound lamb shank (you can go a little heftier if you have a big enough soup pot and you want a meatier stew)
1 ½ pounds red potatoes, peeled & chopped
3 cups diced onion
4 large carrots, peeled & chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Several pinches of dried thyme leaves
A few pinches of dried parsley
1 bottle dark Irish beer
3 bay leaves
32 ounces beef broth
32 ounces vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
Serves 4 - 6


I'm very slow at prep work for any recipe, so it always behooves me to peel and dice my veggies ahead of time. Then I'm ready to add ingredients as I toil through the various steps of my culinary creation.

When you're ready to get started, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pan and season lamb shank on both sides with salt, pepper, and a pinch of thyme. When oil sizzles, brown lamb shank on both sides for a few minutes and remove shank to a plate. 

Add onions to the pan with a bit more salt & pepper and sweat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover onions with a lid and let steam for 5 minutes. When the time is up, take off lid and turn heat back up. Stir onions frequently while they sizzle and start to develop caramel color (about 10 minutes). 

Add 1 bottle of beer and a few pinches of thyme and parsley; let the onions simmer in the beer for a few minutes until the liquid reduces by about half, stirring once in a while. Then add the potatoes, carrots, garlic and give it a good stir. Throw in the 3 bay leaves and plop the lamb shank on top of vegetables. Add beef and vegetable broth (I like to use some veggie broth to keep it a bit lighter) and another pinch of thyme if you'd like. 

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for one hour. Remove lid and let simmer for another 1-2 hours, stirring and tasting every so often so that you can adjust for seasonings. Go easy on the salt to begin with since this soup cooks down and the flavors intensify. If you and your guests start salivating while this amazing concoction is bubbling away, put out some aged Irish cheddar and freshly sliced bread.

Continue to keep an eye on the stove and you will be amazed at how the flavors meld and come together to produce a rich, woodsy yet slightly sweet stew. When you feel the flavors of the soup are developed to your liking and you're ready to eat, remove the lamb shank, let it cool for a few minutes before handling, and cut the meat into bite size pieces. (If you have any concerns about whether your lamb shank is fully cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat before cutting, and it should read at least 145°F). Add the lamb pieces back into the broth and be sure to remove the bay leaves.

Serve this hearty stew sprinkled with fresh parsley for a little Irish green...washed down with a cold beer from the Emerald Isle!

May your taste buds find happiness;
May your stomach be full;
 May your body be nourished,
As well as your heart and soul.
~SLO Blessing 

All Text and Photos Copyright © 2012 by Elizabeth in SLO. All Rights Reserved.

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