Irish Stew

What? Cocoa in a stew, who’d have thought?
I’m really loving Oliver McCabe’s new The FuelFood Cookbook and it was a great pleasure to have him signing copies in Only Natural recently. We’re equally excited at the prospect of having him do a demonstration day in Murphy’s Barn on Saturday May 7th. It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity to benefit from Oliver’s unique wholefood cookery knowledge at first hand, on top of which we’ll be throwing in a delicious and wholesome lunch with recipes from the book and all in the most inspiring setting not far from Wexford town. Why not keep the date free? Tickets are now available online here.

Anyway back to the recipe. It’s Oliver’s mammy’s very own recipe for Irish Stew and, what with Paddy’s Day just round the corner we thought it might be good to remind you that, even in today’s multi cultured food world, our own tradition of simply prepared, wholesome dishes deserves to be honoured and enjoyed. This Irish Stew however has a bit of a twist, yes cocoa! I’ve added chocolate to chilli before and I must say that this works too. The result is a rounded, mellow flavour where the strong taste of the lamb isn’t quite so dominant. The quality of the ingredients is everything in a recipe like this so we’d suggest (A) supporting your local Craft Butcher for better quality meat and (B) buying organic vegetables where possible. The chilly season isn’t quite over yet and trust me, this is what you want when it’s cold and rainy outside. Do give it a try!

Irish Stew Ingredients
4 tbsp. rapeseed oil
1kg lean Irish stewing lamb, cut into chunks
2 large onions, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
4 tbsp. white spelt flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. Himalayan fine rock salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
850ml boiling water
150g carrots, diced
4 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp. horseradish relish

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add in the meat in batches and brown it on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes per batch.
2. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the frying pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, until soft.
4. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add the flour to the oil remaining in the pan. Add the cocoa, seasoning and herbs and stir until slightly thickened.
5. Return the meat, onions and garlic to the pan along with the boiling water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
6. Add the carrots, potatoes and horseradish relish and top up with additional water if necessary to cover the ingredients.
7. Simmer for another 30 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
8. Serve hot.