The big Pi Day winner announced at the end of this post!
There are few things as heartwarming and satisfying as lamb so tender it falls off the bone with the gentlest encouragement of a spoon. Sauced in a rich stew alongside tender vegetables and mopped up with a thick slice of whole wheat soda bread - I think everyone should celebrate St. Patrick's day with such a union of comfort and decadence. Washed down of course with a pint or three of Guinness and followed by some good-natured rowdiness, perhaps with some semblance of dancing.
The stew is made by slowly simmering browned lamb in wine and its own juices until it falls apart, then adding potatoes, carrots and pearl onions to cook until tender. Doing so prevents the vegetables from turning to mush. You could also throw in some green peas and fresh parsley a few minutes before serving for a bright pop of colour.
You don't need to use pearl onions in this recipe, but they are just so darn adorable and not as finicky as they seem. Simply drop them into a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes, and they are willing to slip out of papery skins with hardly any protest.
The soda bread was a hearty, wholesome accompaniment, flecked with fruity caraway seeds and studded with sweet currants. It would also be delicious with a nice chunk of fresh baguette.
And the lucky winner of the Pi Day giveaway is... drumroll please.... Kashena! I will send you details on how to claim your prize.
Irish Lamb Stew
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
2-3 lbs lamb shoulder, cut in cubes
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup white wine
about 2 cups water
2 medium potatoes, cubed
3 medium carrots, cut in uniform pieces
2 cups pearl onions
salt to taste
1. Whisk together flour, salt, and pepper. Heat the oil and butter in a large dutch oven (or heavy bottomed pot with a lid) over medium-high heat. Dredge lamb cubes in flour mixture and brown on all sides, in batches to avoid over crowding. Transfer lamb to a plate.
2. Add onions to pot and cook till softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Return lamb to pot, and add 2 cups water (or enough to cover lamb by 1/2 inch). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat; cover and simmer until very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add potatoes, pearl onions and carrots. Cook, covered, 25 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through.