There are so many versions of Irish stew that some people say you should just have white vegetables in it; some people add 1 or 2 tbsp of pot barley in at the start with the stock.
- 3 tbsp olive oil or 3tbsp of the lamb or mutton fat that you have put into the hot casserole or saucepan to render down,
- 1-1.5kg (2 ½ -3lbs) gigot chops, with bones attached, or mutton neck chops
- 4 medium sized carrots, peeled, and quartered or 12 baby carrots, scrubbed and left whole
- 12 baby onions, peeled, or 4 medium onions, cut into 1\4 s through the root, which should keep the 1\4s intact
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled (not traditional, but I love garlic in an Irish stew)
- 15g (1/2 oz) butter
- Salt and pepper
- 600ml (1pint) lamb or chicken stock or water
- 8-12 potatoes, peeled
- A sprig of rosemary or a large sprig of thyme
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- Cut the chops in half, not taking off the bones.
- Heat the casserole until very hot, toss the meat in the fat or olive oil until it is nice and brown, take out of the pan and cook the onions and carrots in the hot oil or fat for a couple of minutes, season with salt and pepper while sautéing.
- Put the meat and vegetables back in .
- Add the stock and season. Put the potatoes on top, and simmer gently either in an oven at 160c or on the hob, until the meat is cooked, 1 ½ hours approx, it may take more.
- Pour off the cooking liquid and, degrease, season if it needs it and pour back over the stew, add herbs and serve.
**NOTE If the potatoes are quite small, add them in 20-30mins after the stew starts cooking.
**NOTE To degrease the juices , if you do not have a maisgras ,add a couple of ice cubes to the strained liquid ;the fat should rise up to the top , spoon it off and discard.
**NOTE If you like, you could thicken the juices with some roux.