Melting Pot and Irish Stew

Since this is the month of the Fourth of July, I thought that I would post some recipes from all over the world that I have seen end up on American tables because of the vast number of ethnic groups that make up this incredible delicious bubbling gumbo of a country (You have grocery stores here! I don’t know if I will ever be able to get over the fact that I can choose between 200 cereals in one aisle.).

I have picked a different country or each of the posts, and have hit all the continents except Antarctica, because I can’t remember my penguin soup recipe.
This is possibly one of the simplest recipes for a family dinner ever: (Well outside of ordering a pizza). I have been unlucky in that I have never actually visited Ireland, north or south. (Apart from a number of layovers at Shannon Airport, but I don’t think that actually counts.) The main reason that we didn’t go was because my father was always afraid that we would end up like Lord Mountbatten and be blown up into a shower of chunky bits by the IRA. Good for the soil I hear, maybe that why Ireland is so green? Maybe that was just in incredibly bad taste; yes well…hmmm if it wasn’t for bad taste I would have no taste at all. (I have a friend that can vouch for that, think coming back from a vacation and finding your whole flat redecorated in leopard print (Including carpets).Though there may have been some zebra).

My best friend growing up was Irish, well his mother was Irish and his father was Scottish, but we both went to the same parochial school. I remember her Irish stew well, layers of potatoes, lamb or mutton, and onions, with just a little salt and pepper for seasoning. For variety she would sometimes add carrots, sometimes some chives or wild parsley from the garden.

These days I see recipes all over the web that have herb bunches, beef instead of lamb, and stock and tell you to brown the meat? Uh, that is just a regular beef stew. Why don’t you just haul out the Dinty Moore and have done with it you [email protected] heathens.

A traditional Irish Stew is never browned. Never, ever browned, got it? Good, we can move on.

On a side note my Maternal Great Grandfather was also Irish and came from Ireland to America and eventually to Oregon where he married a Norwegian girl and settled down to distill moonshine and flog green milk to the neighbors. He ended up leaving his Norwegian wife and five kids on the farm for some fast and loose hussy from the thriving metropolis of Astoria Oregon. Drove a mail cart for some years and then worked as a lumberjack. Of course he eventually got rolled on by a log and was squashed flat like a squirrel in rush hour traffic. Karma? No, I think he just wasn’t a very good lumberjack. This is the way we roll the log, roll the log, roll the log, this is the way we roll the… oops!

So here is the traditional version:

Take 3 Pounds of Lamb or mutton
6 Large potatoes sliced or cubed
4 Onions sliced
Salt and pepper generous
Water to cover.

In a large pot or Dutch oven place a layer of potatoes, cover this with a layer of lamb, then a layer of onions, dust each layer with a little salt and pepper, and continue making layers, ending with a layer of potatoes. Pour in enough water to cover and bring to the boil, DO NOT STIR! I mean it, no touchy… Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for about an hour and a half until potatoes are tender and lamb is tender and everything is tender.

If you want to vary it add a few chopped carrots in a couple of separate layers with a little chopped parsley. Or go all out and use beef stock instead of water, add a layer of celery, a bay leaf and some thyme. Come to think of it why don’t you add some barley and turn it into a Scotch Broth, you ungrateful sods, why back in my day…uh sorry, talking to elderly relatives today, you know how it goes: “Walked barefoot both ways, uphill, through a graveyard, but a nickel got you a movie, a comic, two sodas and an evening with Jenny Lind…”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *