Irish Lamb Stew

Makes 4 to 6 servings Irish Lamb Stew

My co-author of Tomato Imperative!, Sharon Nimtz, introduced me to lovage. A big, handsome herb, lovage is best planted out of the way, as it can take over. I dry some to use in the winter. It has a strong celery flavor and a few leaves in this stew are very tasty. This may be the dish to offer St. Patrick's Day for a change from corned beef and cabbage.

2 pounds lamb shoulder or stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
4 cups water
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A few dried lovage leaves or fresh celery leaves
2 cups 1-inch chunks unpeeled boiling potatoes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour mixed with 1/2 cup water until smooth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Place the lamb, carrots, and onions in a 4-quart pot. Add the water and whiskey and bring to a boil over medium heat, skimming off any foam. Add the salt, thyme, pepper, and lovage. Stir well, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Add the potatoes, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Skim off any fat from the sauce. Restir the flour-and-water mixture and stir into the stew, cooking until the sauce thickens. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with parsley leaves before serving.

Country Tips and Tales:

Stew and soup always taste better the next day when the flavors have had the chance to mellow.

Country Suppers
Simple, Hearty Fare For Family and Friends
by Ruth Cousineau
Illustrations by Warren Kimble
William Morrow & Co., $22.00/hardcover
270 pages; November 5, 1997
Recipes and photos reprinted by permission.

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