If you’re going to make a good Ballymaloe Irish Stew, why not make the recipe from Ireland’s foremost culinary academy? Use the best ingredients and enjoy the finest results – a superb meal worth of the most elegant table.
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds (1.35kg) lamb chops (gigot or rack chops) not less than 1 inch (2.5cm) thick
- 8 medium or 12 baby carrots
- 8 medium or 12 baby onions
- 8 to 12 potatoes, or more if you like
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pints (750 ml to 900 ml/3-3 3/4 Cups) stock (lamb stock if possible) or water
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 Tablespoon (1 American Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) roux, optional - see Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon (1 American Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) freshly chopped parsley
- 1 Tablespoon (1 American Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) freshly chopped chives
- 4 ounces (110g/1 stick) butter
- 4 ounces (110g/scant 1 Cup) flour
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/regulo 4.
- Cut the chops in half and trim off some of the excess fat. Set aside. Render down the fat on a gentle heat in a heavy pan (discard the rendered down pieces).
- Peel the onions and scrape or thinly peel the carrots (if they are young you could leave some of the green stalk on the onion and carrot). Cut the carrots into large chunks, or if they are small leave them whole. If the onions are large, cut them into quarters through the root, if they are small they are best left whole.
- Toss the meat in the hot fat on the pan until it is slightly brown. Transfer the meat into a casserole, then quickly toss the onions and carrots in the fat. Build the meat, carrots and onions up in layers in the casserole, carefully season each layer with freshly ground pepper and salt. De-glaze the pan with lamb stock and pour into the casserole. Peel the potatoes and lay them on top of the casserole, so they will steam while the stew cooks. Season the potatoes. Add a sprig of thyme, bring to the boil on top of the stove, cover with a butter wrapper or paper lid and the lid of the saucepan. Transfer to a moderate oven or allow to simmer on top of the stove until the stew is cooked, 1 1/2 hours approximately, depending on whether the stew is being made with lamb or hogget.
- When the stew is cooked, pour off the cooking liquid, de-grease and reheat in another saucepan. Slightly thicken by whisking in a little roux if you like. Check seasoning, then add chopped parsley and chives. Pour over the meat and vegetables. Bring the stew back up to boiling point and serve from the pot or in a large pottery dish. Melt the butter and cook the flour in it for 2 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Use as required. Roux can be stored in a cool place and used as required or it can be made up on the spot if preferred. It will keep at least a fortnight in a refrigerator.
Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons pearl barley with the vegetables.
Increase the stock to 2 pints (1.2L/5 cups) as the pearl barley soaks up lots of liquid.
Makes one pot. No more, no less.