I have had some ragout veal, and I mean to have some haricot mutton to-morrow.
Jane Austen to Cassandra, Saturday, November 17, 1798
Irish stew is a traditional Irish dish made from lamb or mutton as well as potatoes, onions, and parsley. It originated in Ireland but appears in cookbooks all over Europe, including Escoffier's Guide Culinaire.
Irish stew is a filling, flavourful dish made with the most readily-available ingredients. The Irish raised primarily sheep and root crops for subsistence. The sheep provided wool for warm clothing, milk for drinking and making cheese, and eventually food. Potatoes were the main food crop, prior to the potato famine. (Sometimes the potatoes are boiled separately, and added before serving, as they tend to break down faster than other ingredients.)
Irish stew, or "stobhach gaelach" as it is called in Irish, is traditionally made of lamb or mutton (mutton is from less tender sheep over two years of age), potatoes, onions, and parsley. Sometimes, only lamb or mutton neckbones, shanks, and other trimmings were the only basis for the stock. Yet, these would-be discards still held enough flavor after a long simmering process to do justice to a hearty bowl of stew. The root vegetables added further flavor and thickening power, as well as filling sustenance. Some cooks added turnips or parsnips, carrots, and barley when available.
Although traditionally made with lamb or mutton, Irish stew was sometimes a meal which was thrown together with non-prime cuts and filled out with potatoes. More recently, Irish stew has been made with beef.
When the Irish people began immigrating to the United States, they naturally brought along their food traditions. The stew evolved and adapted to include the local offerings. Sheep were not as plentiful, so other types of meat were often substituted. The recipe has evolved to often include Guinness stout and Paprika. Some variations have exalted this original peasant dish to near gourmet status.
The following recipe is from Martha Lloyd's Household Book
. A haricot
is a stew of lamb or mutton with turnips and potatoes.
A Harrico of Mutton
Cut a neck of mutton into steaks. Flour them and fry them brown on each side. Put into your stewpan a piece of butter and 2 spoonfuls of flour, and let is simmer together until is is of a light brown (keeping it stirring all the time). Add to it some good gravy and let it boil up, then put in your steaks, and turnips and carrots and let it stew one hour. Pepper and salt to your taste and 2 Spoonfuls of catchup--when done if greasy mix some flour with cold water and put to it, but let it only boil up once afterwards.
6 pounds boneless Lamb shoulder (or beef roast) cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 Large Yellow Onion peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup water
4 cups Beef Stock
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups carrots-cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large yellow onions peeled and sliced
3 pounds potatoes or turnips peeled,quartered and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme,whole
1 bay leaf
Put lamb salt pepper and flour in large mixing bowl-toss to coat meat evenly.
Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat or butter. Put meat into 10 quart stove top casserole-leave 1/4 cup of fat in frying pan. Add onion and saute till onion begins to color. Deglaze frying pan with 1/2 cup water and add the onion to your casserole with the beef stock and sugar.Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or till tender. Add remaining ingredients to pot and simmer covered for 20 minutes until veg. is tender. Check for salt and pepper before serving.
Historical information from Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
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