Irish Stew & Other St Patrick’s Day Recipes

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A classic Irish Stew is simple and flavorful. It comes together easily with hearty chunks of meat, potatoes, and carrots. And it brings ultimate comfort.

bowl of stew with bread board and cheese

If you’re like me and you (a) don’t like corned beef and cabbage and/or (b) don’t want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a dish that isn’t even Irish, then let me introduce you to one that is.

Irish Stew is one of my yearly kitchen traditions. It’s super easy to stir up, the slow cooker does most of the work, and it tastes amazing. Seriously.

I made it a few weeks ago and I just could. not. stop. eating. it.

Believe it or not, it’s got just a handful of ingredients. Just goes to show, you don’t need a lot to make something amazing for dinner.

And amazing, this Irish Stew is.

So why do we have this for St. Patrick’s Day? Well, I’ll tell ya.

One of my favorite parts about teaching my kids at home is the great reading we get to do together. A book that we read early on in my homeschooling career was St Patrick: Pioneer Missionary to Ireland. For years it was an annual reread.

bowl of irish stew on plate with green napkin

The biography tells the story of Patrick, how he was kidnapped by Celts, how God saved him, how he escaped from Ireland, and how he later returned to Ireland to preach the good news of Christ. It’s a great read aloud. (Though it’s really heavy on Christianese which annoys me, so I edit heavily as I read.)

While I think that leprechauns and rainbows are fun, and I have been known to buy a box of Lucky Charms for St. Patty’s Day, I prefer to focus on the real story or spiritual significance behind a holiday or special occasion. It makes any celebration we do a little more interesting and genuine.

By now my kids all know that Patrick lived very simply; for many years he was enslaved by a Celtic chief, working as a shepherd. Later he lived a humble life of a clergyman, shepherding a different kind of flock.

I imagine that this stew might be something like what he might have eaten.

So, for our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, we enjoy Irish Stew and Soda Bread. If I’m feeling extra “splurgy” (is that a word?) I might buy Irish butter or Dubliner cheese to go with. (Costco sells both of these made by Kerrygold.) For dessert, I go apple with an easy Apple Crisp or a Slab Apple Pie.

And sometimes, when I want a variation, I make this Guinness Stew that is also amazingly good. It’s got mushrooms and stout to give it a twist of flavor.

ingredients for irish stew

What is Irish Stew?

This stew is amazingly simple to make and it’s more or less authentic to the occasion. Tradition would say to use lamb in Irish Stew, but that’s not super cheap or readily available in these here parts, so I use a chuck roast instead. Truly authentic Irish Stew consists of mutton, potatoes, onions, and parsley. Sometimes it has carrots, like here.

Ironically, I’m using what I have (beef), just like Irish-American immigrants did so many years ago when they adopted Jewish corned beef to replace the pricier bacon to go with cabbage.

You do what you can, right?

Since beef is more readily available here in the States, I’m only going to address beef for this recipe.

What are some traditional Irish meals?

Traditional Irish meals and recipes include Irish Stew, colcannon, Dublin coddle, champ, brack, farls, and boxty.

My friend, Gale, born and bred in Northern Ireland, and I have discussed this at length. Here are some of her favorite recipes:

cubed beef for irish stew

What meat do you use in stew?

The best beef cuts for stew are not those marked “stew meat” at the grocery store. That’s typically rubbish. I’ve never had a good experience with those.

Instead, use beef chuck or beef cross rib roast. These cook up super tender in stews.

How do you make Irish Stew?

Irish Stew is pretty simple, containing few ingredients and cooking in the slow cooker. I cube the beef and toss it in flour, salt, and pepper. You can omit the flour if you are cooking gluten-free, but it does a great job thickening up the gravy.

Saute the beef cubes in a bit of oil in a skillet until well browned. Then transfer the meat to the crock of a slow cooker.

Saute chopped onion in the drippings left in the pan and add those to the slow cooker. Add some beef broth and a bay leaf and cook for several hours until tender.

collage of prep steps to make irish stew

Add the vegetables in the last two hours of cooking so that they don’t get super mushy. You can add them earlier; just know that they will have a much softer texture come serving time.

I leave the baby carrots whole and chop the potatoes rather large, but you can chop them how you like them. You can also use whole carrots and chop those. Stir the veggies into the pot and cook until tender.

collage of stew meat in crockpot and veggies added

Is Irish Stew easy to make?

This stew is super easy to make! Here are some tools I use to aid the process:

Is Irish Stew expensive to make?

Stew has been considered “peasant food” for ages as it usually features cheaper cuts of meat that benefit from long, slow cooking. The big ticket item here is the meat, especially if you’re going to use lamb. However, even beef prices have been pretty high these past few year. 

Consider these strategies to reduce your costs for making Irish Stew:

  • I buy the meat when it’s on sale. In fact I stock up and buy several packages at a time so I always have some in my freezer. Hint: watch your grocery sales as beef chuck roasts and steaks often go on sale this time of year.
  • Likewise, watch the sales for good prices on potatoes and beef broth. While not “expensive”, they can get pricey in certain seasons.
  • Use up your leftovers! This stew stretches beautifully with more broth and veggies. So, if you’ve got just a portion or two left, know that you can stretch it to feed more.

irish stew cooked in crockpot

Irish Stew
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Total Time
6 hrs 25 mins
 

A classic Irish Stew is simple and flavorful. It comes together easily with hearty chunks of meat, potatoes, and carrots. And it brings ultimate comfort.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, English, Irish
Keyword: beef stew, irish stew, st. patrick's day, stew
Servings: 8
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chuck roast cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup flour optional, omit if gluten-free
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 4 medium potatoes peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
Instructions
  1. Place the beef cubes, flour, and salt and pepper in a large ziptop bag or bowl. Seal and shake to coat all cubes with flour or stir gently.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Add the beef cubes and brown on all sides. Do not crowd meat in pan. Do this in batches if your pan is not large enough to accommodate all the meat at one time. As the meat browns, remove it to crockpot.
  3. Add the onions to the drippings in skillet and sauté until tender. Add the onions to the crockpot.
  4. Stir in the beef broth and bay leaf. Cover and cook on LOW for four hours.

  5. Add the carrots and potatoes and stir gently to combine. Cook on LOW for another two to four hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.

  6. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe Notes

To freeze: cool the stew completely. Wrap, label, and freeze in an airtight container. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

Note: the stew can also be cooked on the stovetop. Simmer on low for 2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender, adding the vegetables in the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Irish Stew Recipe | Life as Mom

 
About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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Comments

  1. Hoosier Homemade says

    Thanks for hosting!
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
    ~Liz

  2. jolie says

    The stew sounds yummy and simple! What ages would you recommend for the book? Any book ideas for preschoolers?

  3. I left a link to a soda bread that isn’t exactly “traditional” but really, really delicious! I also celebrate this holiday as a way to teach my children about this missionary and follower of Christ. Here is a link to more info and some books we like http://praiseworthythings.blogspot.com/2008/03/remembering-patrick.html

  4. Snow White says

    that recipe looks great — I didn’t think about having Irish Stew in honor of St. Patty’s Day!

  5. Jenna says

    to answer your question about cheese type in green mac n cheese,
    yup, you could add the spinach puree to any cheese sauce base. i’m not sure it would work if you just added shredded cheese to the spinach puree as you might not get a smooth sauce that coats the pasta. thx for hosting a recipe swap, thursday is one of my favorite blogging days 🙂

  6. Katchmo says

    We always make Blarney Stones:
    http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1610,146177-232202,00.html
    To make them gluten free, just substitute your favorite gluten free flour mix for the flour and add 2 t xanthan gum. This year I have the added challenge of making them without refined sugar. If I succeed, I’ll post the recipe on my site.

  7. CountryMama@The Cozy Country Home says

    We’re a big Irish family and this is the stew I grew up on… the exact same one!! I make it all the time! How funny…food brings people all over the country and world together!!

  8. Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam says

    Oh, I have that book…and definitely need to go pull it out as our read aloud for the month. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  9. Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam says

    And as I keep checking Mr. Linky around midnight ECT, I just realized that you are a west coast girl now. That means that us East Coast girls will be in poor shape to home school if we wait for it to post on thursdays at midnight. :)Bummer.

  10. Rebecca says

    I was introduced to the “Carnival” concept this week, so your blog is the first time I used Mr. Linky’s Magical Widgets. I mistakenly added #28 without the recipe name, so I added #29. If you would like to delete #28, please do so!

    Thank you for hosting this sharing!

  11. Hmmm…not seeing a link, so I’m probably totally doing this wrong (or it’s over and I missed it), but anyway…
    Here’s the link to our Irish Supper Menu:
    http://www.raisingarrows.net/2010/03/irish-supper-menu.html

  12. ROFLOL! When people tweet something I figure they are current! Thanks for the smile this morning.

  13. Love finding new St. Pat day’s recipes, thanks for sharing. Here is a fun meal fit for a leprechaun, the kids love all the green. As a bonus it is super easy to make!

    http://jackkhcktt.blogspot.com/2010/03/meal-fit-for-leprechaun.html

    Slainte!

  14. Deb Harris says

    I’m a follower that usually doesn’t comment but have a question. I love this Irish Stew & have made ones very similar. What I’m wondering is about freezing it. I’ve started slowly freezing meals & love having meals in the freezer. I’ve never frozen stews or things with potatoes because I’d always heard they didn’t freeze well. Does this freeze well? I really hope so. I’m half Irish, my mother was born there. My biggest dream is to visit, don’t know if it’ll happen but I keep hoping. Love your site & use lots of recipes & info. Thanks

    • Good question. Yes, sometimes the potatoes get a little mushy, particularly if you use regular russets. Red potatoes have a different texture, so they hold up better on freezing. Another alternative is to make the stew without the potatoes and then serve it over mashed potatoes, champ, or colcannon.

  15. We do this stew, or a variation, and colcannon, a cabbage and potato dish that is fabulous. Here is one recipe. We usually add a little bacon. Because, bacon: http://www.irishcentral.com/culture/food-drink/colcannon-traditional-irish-recipe-118184429-237376811.html

  16. I made this on Sunday for a freezer meal that never made it into the freezer because it smelled so good and was equally delicious. At our house we always have corned beef, cabbage and red potatoes smothered in mustered.

  17. Just wanted to give a heads up. When I made this for our book club, the vegetables did not get tender in 4 hours.

    • That’s really interesting. I just made this last week and they were well done in that time here. Did you stir it all up when you added them?

  18. I’ll have to make this on Sunday! We always go to a family friend’s house for St. Patrick’s Day, where they make corned beef, cabbage, the whole shebang. I think bringing some of this stew will really round out the meal.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  19. If cooking gluten free, you can replace the regular flour with a gluten free flour blend. I use Wal-Mart’s Great Value gluten free all purpose flour. I’m going to try this recipe in my electric pressure cooker, adjusting the time accordingly. I may make it a meatball stew, using ground beef, since I have no stew meat on hand.

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