Thank you so much to the Idaho Potato Commission for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions and endorsements are my own.
This recipe for Irish Lamb and Potato Stew is so simple but so insanely delicious. Not to mention, it’s warm and comforting and will make you feel all fuzzy inside during the cold winter weather. It’s cooked in a dutch oven, first on the stovetop then baked, making the lamb super tender. Sweet potatoes and dark beer are added, giving it amazing depth of flavor, with only a little fresh thyme added as seasoning in addition to salt and pepper. And it’s easily adaptable to be gluten-free/paleo/whole30. AND it’s freezable and a great make-ahead meal.
This is the ultimate winter stew and you CANNOT live without it.
I can’t get over how delicious the broth is in this recipe. I used a mixture of half beef broth and half dark beer. I’ve never cooked with dark beer before, and the result was way better than expected. Stout is my favorite kind of beer to start with- it’s smooth and rich and velvety and has a warming flavor that’s great in cold weather. It gave the broth base the same kind of delicious flavors, making it much more complex than it would have been with just beef broth.
The flavor of the lamb also infuses into every bite. It’s browned (in batches, to get a good sear and color) before the other ingredients are added, and every browned bit left behind infuses into the stew. Lamb is my favorite kind of meat. Probably because I’m half Greek- it’s in my blood. I love the flavor of the meat and the flavor of its fat that seeps into the every bite of the stew and gets absorbed by the potatoes. Yum yum yum. Absolutely delicious.
Now. If you are looking for a gluten-free, paleo, or whole30 compliant version of the stew, you’ll have to omit the beer. But don’t worry- it will still be super tasty! Just use all beef broth, or even chicken broth, instead. And if you’re reading this post being like “lamb is great and all, but I don’t have piles of money to spend on it,” I hear you. Feel free to use beef stew meat instead!
A lot of stew recipes use flour as a thickener for the broth. I didn’t find that to be necessary for this recipe. Traditional Irish lamb stews don’t have sweet potatoes, but I added them for a few reasons. First, sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients and I wanted to bulk up this recipe with more vegetables, so I could use less meat (and save some moolah). Second, they have a slightly sweet flavor, which helped balance everything out and made the recipe so satisfying since it hit every taste. I almost always find that if I eat sweet potatoes as part of my meal, I rarely want dessert or anything sweet after.
Finally, the sweet potatoes cook faster than the carrots and potatoes, which means their texture was a lot softer in the end. This caused them to disintegrate slightly into the stew, acting as a thickener. The more you stir it, the thicker it will become (but also the fewer large pieces of sweet potato you’ll have- so be careful!).
You can certainly use flour to thicken this if you want, or even add some pre-mashed potatoes (of the sweet or white variety) to the stew.
I used my trusty Cuisinart Oval Dutch Oven for this. I love the color, and I also love the price. It’s a much more affordable alternative to more expensive brands, with the same result. The oval shape is great for roasting a whole chicken.
If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can definitely make this in any large pot on your stovetop- just simmer for an hour or so instead of baking.
If you like this recipe, check out this Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean stew– another hearty, nutrient-packed, warming meal.
Here’s the recipe for Irish Lamb and Potato Stew!
Irish Lamb and Potato Stew
- 2 lbs. Lamb stew meat cut into approximately 2” pieces (boneless shoulder or leg, see notes)
- 3 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral tasting oil
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 2 yellow onions halved and sliced
- 4 carrots peeled and cut into 1” pieces diagonally
- 1 lb. halved baby yellow and/or red potatoes
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes peeled, halved, and sliced thickly
- 2 cups beef broth or chicken broth
- 2 cups dark Irish beer such as Guinness
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper.
- Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a dutch oven and brown half of the lamb for 2-3 minutes on each side, until it develops nice color. Make sure the pieces aren’t touching each other. Remove lamb to a plate and repeat with one more tablespoon oil with the remaining half of the lamb. Remove to the plate.
- Add last tablespoon of oil to the pot along with the onions and carrots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until softened; approximately 5 minutes. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot as you cook. If browned bits are not easily removed, add a little bit of the beef broth or some water to the pot to help deglaze it.
- Add the lamb back into the pot and pour the beef broth (2 cups) and dark beer (2 cups) in.
- Add the potatoes and sweet potatoes on top and season with salt and pepper. It’s alright if the potatoes aren’t completely submerged.
- Add the two sprigs of time on top.
- Cover pot and bake in preheated oven for 60-90 minutes, or until lamb is very tender.
- Stir the stew gently before serving- some of the sweet potatoes will disintegrate into the broth, thickening it a bit.
- For a gluten-free, paleo, or whole30 compliant version, omit the beer and replace with more beef broth.
- If you don’t have a dutch oven, use a large pot with a cover and instead of baking, simmer on the stovetop, covered, for 60-90 minutes or until lamb is very tender.
- Money Saving Tip/Lamb Alternative: For a more budget-friendly recipe, substitute the lamb with beef.