"Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter.Lullabies, dreams and love ever after. Poems and songs with pipes and drums. A thousand welcomes when anyone comes... That's the Irish for you!"
Happy St. Patrick's Day! I am far from Irish, but I do really love an Ireland inspired lamb stew, so I cooked up an easy-peasy supper for tonight complete with a fool proof recipe for a quick Irish Soda Bread baked in a cast iron frying pan.
You may notice the repetition of the number 4 in this recipe - that's for good luck - unless of course you have found your very own 4 leaf clover...
P.S. And don't be afraid to crack open a Guinness or two, which will go brilliantly with this meal!
Here's how its done:
Irish Lamb Stew
1.5 pounds boneless lamb leg, cut into cubes ( I used 2 lamb leg chops)
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, washed, trimmed, de-sanded and sliced into 1" slices
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" rounds
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
4-6 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 cup dry red wine
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp steak spice
Pinch of red chilli flakes
4 small bay leaves
4 potatoes peeled and cut into 2" dice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
- In a large Dutch oven, heated on medium-high, fry bacon until lightly browned; add lamb cubes and continue to brown. Add onion and saute until onion is translucent; add carrots and leeks and continue to saute for about 10 minutes.
- Add red wine to de-glaze the pan; add tomatoes, beef stock, thyme, steak spice, chilli flakes and bay leaves; stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and add potatoes; reduce heat and simmer on medium-low for about 1 1/2 hours, until meat is fork tender; adjust seasoning.
Note: when using lamb leg, the meat will start out very tender, then become a bit tough once its cooked to well-done at the saute stage. But after the 1 1/2 hour cooking time, the meat will be very tender again. You may substitute lamb shoulder in this recipe and cook it the same way.
Irish Soda Bread
1 cup milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat four
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a cast iron skillet with butter; set aside.
- Measure milk into measuring cup; add vinegar and lemon juice and stir to combine; let stand 10 minutes until curdled.
- In mixing bowl, blend flours, salt and baking soda; add melted butter and curdled milk mixture and stir with wooden spoon just until combined.
- Turn out onto floured cutting board; dust lightly with flour and shape into a mound, smoothing the top; gently lift into cast iron pan; sprinkle with seeds; bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes, until top is lightly browned and toothpick inserted comes out clean; cool on wire rack.
*(adapted from a recipe on allrecipes.com).
Happy St. Paddy's Day!