Small Batch Irish Stew

Friday 15 March 2019

With Saint Patrick's Day being on Sunday I thought it would be fun to make a smaller batch of Irish Stew for the smaller family.  This recipe will serve 3, or 2 people generously.  Or two people on the day and one with the leftovers the day after. 

Its a simple and yet attractive stew, using simple methods and simple ingredients, because lets face it . . .  the Irish were basically a very poor people, a humble people, without artifice, and many did not have stoves or ovens, but cooked over an open fire on the hearth.

This is a recipe I adapted from one I found in this book.  It is originally meant to feed four people generously.  This is a great book by the way.  I have had it for a few years now and every recipe tried has been a real winner. Its from the Love Food people.

All you need for it is some stewing lamb  . . .  you could use neck fillets if you wanted to, I just used cubed stewing lamb I got at the shops.  British or Welsh lamb is not quite in season yet, so suspect this was NZ lamb.

There is no browning or faffing about with the meat, which also lessens the fat calories.  You just season and dust the cubed lamb with flour and lay it in the bottom of a heavy casserole dish. (I used my medium sized Le Creuset.)

Once the lamb is in the bottom, you layer on diced onion and sliced carrots.  I like to lightly season each layer. 

Once you have those layered in, you cover the top with wedges of potato.  I used two medium/large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges.  I got kind of fanciful when I layered them on top. I thought it looked quite pretty. 

Finally you just pour over a mix of hot stock and dried thyme. The recipe called for beef stock.  If I do it again, I will use chicken stock. I thought some of the integrity of the lamb was lost by using beef, but that may just be me.

After that you just cover it up tightly and let the oven do the work.  Go read a book, do some knitting, housework, whatever  . . .

The recipe didn't call for it, but about 15 minutes before it was done, I took it out of the oven and brushed the potatoes with some butter, then popped it back into the oven at a higher temperature. It browned the potatoes up a bit, which I thought was a nice touch. 

This was a really lovely stew.  I am thinking if you didn't have lamb, you could do beef or pork in the same way, probably even chicken would be good done this way. 

This is something I have done with stew since I was a child.  I like to mash the potatoes up a bit and dab some butter on them. (Don't judge me.)  Its really good that way.  I also love sweet pickles with stew, but those don't exist over here, so I just think about how good they used to be and settle for what I have.

Yield: 3

Small Batch Irish Stew

prep time: 15 minscook time: 2 hour and 30 minstotal time: 2 hours and 45 mins
A small batch Irish Stew for the smaller family.  Simple and delicious. This will give you a hearty meal on the day.


  • 2 TBS plain flour
  • 1 pound stewing lamb
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 largish potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and black pepper
  • 600ml hot beef stock (2 1/2 cups)
  • small knob of butter
  • parsley flakes to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 165*C/325*F/ gas mark 3. 
  2. Season the meat and roll it in the flour, shaking off any excess.  Lay it in a single layer in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with the chopped onion, then the sliced carrot, and finally the potato wedges.  Season each layer lightly as you go.  Whisk together the stock and thyme.  Pour into the casserole dish.  Cover tightly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours.  About  15 minutes before it is done, remove the cover and brush the top of the potatoes with the knob of butter and return to the oven.  Increase the oven temperature to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Let the potatoes brown a bit.  Sprinkle some parsley flakes on top and serve.
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Todd had the leftovers today for his dinner and he said it tasted even better than it had the other day when I made it.  That is often the way with stews. They seem to taste better upon "ripening" overnight.  Yum!  I think the Irish would approve!


  1. Your potatoes are always perfectly cut!!

    1. Chef's training and good knives Monique! Thanks! xoxo


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