There are few things more satisfying than a hearty, well made gluten free Irish stew in the middle of a freezing cold winter. What makes it even more delightful is that there’s really very little to it in terms of ingredients and preparation, it’s all thrown together in one pot, cooked for an hour and it’s ready to eat!
Growing up in Achiltibuie in the Highlands of Scotland I was surrounded by sheep, they roam freely on the hills, on the roads, and right outside your door, so it’s no great surprise that lamb has always been my favorite meat. Because of the high fat content it’s almost always moist and flavorful once cooked, its great rare and still holds up well if you forget and leave it cooking for longer than you intended.
Traditional Irish Stew is always made with mutton which is the meat from an older sheep and has a slightly stronger flavor than lamb. It’s almost impossible to find in your local grocery stores so lamb shoulder chops will work well instead and the flavor will be equally delicious.
Serve it with some lovely crusty bread if you can find it, green beans would be good too. Most of the time though I just eat it as it is, it’s very filling with the potatoes added to it.
The picture above was taken in my home village of Achiltibuie, Scotland. It was the summer of 2008, just before we moved to Mississippi. We were making the rounds, visiting family and familiar places before we left the UK with our two boys to start a new life in the USA. That’s my Uncle Kenneth shearing one of his sheep, you can see some other sheep peeping through the fence waiting their turn! It was an unusually warm summer day when we visited, most of the time it doesn’t get much above 70f even in the middle of summer, so I have great memories of that trip, often it’s overcast, cold and raining.
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- 4 lamb shoulder chops (2.5 - 3.5lbs), whole, halved or cut into cubes.
- 1-2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 4 large onions, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 8 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 6 -8 waxy potatoes (sweet potatoes if paleo), peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
- Salt and pepper
- 1½ pints water
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot for Paleo) (optional)
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley or chives
- Preheat oven to /350F/180C
- Cut the chops in cubes or in half,whatever your preference is. If the bone is in the way skip this step and leave them whole.
- In your Dutch oven (or large oven proof pan with a tight fitting lid), brown the lamb chops on both sides in a little oil.
- with the lamb chops on the bottom of the pan, layer it up with onions, carrots, then thyme.
- Salt and pepper well in between each vegetable layer.
- layer the potato slices to cover the top, add the water and them some more salt and pepper.
- Cook in the oven with the lid on for 1hr to 1hr and 15 minutes.
- sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley (optional)
- If you want to thicken the liquid once the meat is cooked, pour it off carefully into another pan.
- mix together 1-2 tablespoon of cornstarch (or arrowroot) and mix with 2-3 tablespoons of cold water, add half of the starch to the pan with the liquid and return to a low/medium heat stirring all the time until it starts to bubble and thicken. If its not thick enough for you repeat the process and add the remaining starch.
- pour the thickened gravy back over the meat.