Homemade Irish Stew! Yum!! It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. Serve up a bowl with some Irish soda bread on the side and you’ve got a delicious hearty meal.
As with nearly any recipe, you’ll find different versions of Irish stew recipes. Some are based on regional variations and some are simply from people adding their own personal touch. This one is somewhat traditional in that it uses lamb instead of beef, but has Guinness added to it which is a new twist.
Not a fan of the beer in it? No worries. Simply add more stock in place of the Guinness and you’re good to go! Don’t care for lamb? Just use some good quality stewing beef in its place. You’ll still end up with a scrumptious stew.
One of the things I love about this recipe, and in fact, about any stew, is that you can get it going in the morning and just let it simmer away all day. I remember my mom and my grandmothers doing that often with this type of dish. First, it fills your home with that tantalizing aroma but even better than that, dinner is done and you can get on with your day.
Homemade Irish Stew Recipe
A pot of Irish stew simmering on the stove is a delicious comfort food option for St. Patrick's Day or any day! Add some Irish soda bread to round out this hearty meal.
- 3 lbs lamb shoulder chops cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion chopped
- 32 oz vegetable stock
- 12 oz Guinness Extra Stout
- 1 cup barley rinsed under cold water
- 6 carrots peeled if you want and cut into thick slices
- 8 medium potatoes peeled if you want and cut into large chunks
Dredge pieces of lamb in flour. I like to add salt and pepper to the flour for some extra seasoning but you can omit if you'd prefer.
Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Brown the meat in the oil on all sides.
Remove meat from the pan and set aside. Melt butter in the pot and use a wooden spoon to remove those yummy little browned crusty bits from the bottom of the pan.
Saute the onion in the butter. Add the meat back in.
Pour in the vegetable stock and Guinness.
Add the barley, carrots, and potatoes and simmer for 2 1/2 hours or more. Note: You can add only the barley and cook this for about an hour and a half. Then add the carrots and potatoes and cook for another hour if you prefer them a little firmer. My family always just threw everything in at once and simmered on a really low setting all day.
If you find that the stew is a bit thinner than you'd like, check out the helpful tips with 3 different ways to thicken it up at the bottom of this post.
Delicious substitutions or additions:
Use a good hearty red wine in place of the Guinness.
Leave out the barley if you don’t care for it.
Add in 3 ribs of celery chopped if you’d like.
If you find the stew a little bland (especially if you aren’t using any Guinness or wine), try adding in 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to perk things up a bit.
A tablespoon or two of tomato paste isn’t traditional by any means but it’s another way to add some depth of flavor if needed.
Garlic is pretty much welcomed addition for any recipe in our home. A few cloves minced can be added in with the onions while sauteing.
How to Thicken the Stew:
With the barley and potatoes in the stew, we usually find it’s thick enough but on occasion, it comes out a bit too thin and soup-like for us. There are several options when it comes to thickening it.
Boil 4-6 potatoes and mash them. Add this to the stew near the end of its cooking time to thicken it up. Mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch into 1 tbsp of water or 1 tbsp of flour into 1 tbsp of milk to create a paste. Turn up the heat to bring the stew nearly to boiling. Stir in the paste. It will begin to thicken. If needed add more paste until you have the consistency you want.
A pot of stew simmering on the stove is also a great idea for those days when you might have family members eating at different times. You could make it in your slow cooker too! Of course, we just love having family dinner all together but some nights, one of us has a committee meeting or Bible study or when my daughter was younger, we were juggling sports practice, play rehearsals, and music lessons too.