Irish Stew & Soda Bread


Serve with warm Soda Bread & Guiness...

Serves 6
Preperation and cooking times
Preparation time

Prep 20 mins
Cook time

Cook 40 mins
Plus 2 hours 30 minutes to make the stock



* 3 middle necks of lamb (about 1.8kg/4lb), filleted and boned - you need to end up with about 950g/2lb 2oz pure meat
* 650g floury potatoes , such as King Edward
* 650g waxy potatoes , such as Desirée or Pentland Javelin
* 1kg carrots
* 2 onions
* ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
* chopped fresh chives and parsley, to garnish

For the gravy stock;


* bones from the lamb
* 1 large carrot , quartered
* 1 onion , quartered
* ½ celery stick, quartered
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 large sprigs of thyme
* a generous sprig of parsley
* 6 black peppercorns , lightly crushed


1. Make the stock. Put the lamb bones in a large heavy-based saucepan with the carrot, onion, celery, herbs, peppercorns and 1 tsp salt. Pour in 3 litres/5 1⁄4 pints water. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
2. Strain the stock through a fine sieve to remove bones and vegetables, then return to the pan. Boil until reduced to about 1.3 litres/21⁄4 pints. (You can make the stock the day before - keep it in a covered container in the fridge, or freeze it for up to 3 months.)
3. Make the stew. Cut the lamb into large chunks. Peel the potatoes (keeping both types separate) and cut into pieces of similar size to the meat. Put the two different types in separate bowls of water to keep them white. Peel the carrots and cut into slightly smaller pieces. Slice the onions into thick rings.
4. Put the lamb in a large, clean saucepan. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, skimming off all the impurities from the surface. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
5. Add the floury potatoes, carrots and onions. Season generously and simmer for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the waxy potatoes and thyme. Simmer until the lamb is tender (15-20 minutes). Take off the heat, cover (don't stir) and leave for 15 minutes. (You can make this up to 2 days ahead and keep in the fridge). Garnish and serve.


524 kcalories, protein 37g, carbohydrate 45g, fat 23 g, saturated fat 11g, fibre 6g, salt 1.09 g

For the Soda Bread;


* 250g plain white flour
* 250g plain wholemeal flour
* 100g porridge oats
* 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
* 1 tsp salt
* 25g butter , cut in pieces
* 500ml buttermilk


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and dust a baking sheet with flour. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a table knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips (handle it very, very gently). Now shape it into a flat, round loaf measuring 20cm/8in in diameter.
2. Put the loaf on the baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.) Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it isn't ready after this time, turn it upside down on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes more.
3. Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel (this keeps the crust nice and soft) and leave to cool. To serve, break into quarters, then break or cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges or slices - or simply slice across. Eat very fresh.

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