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YIELDS:

6 servings

PREP TIME:

0 hours 30 mins

COOK TIME:

2 hours 0 mins

TOTAL TIME:

2 hours 30 mins

ingredients

2 Tbsps. Canola oil

1/3 Lb. Thick cut bacon, cut into strips

2 Lbs. Boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat and silver skin, cut into large chunks and dried with paper towels so it browns evenly when seared

5 Medium onions, peeled and sliced

6 Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

3 Bay leaves

10 Fresh sprigs of Thyme

1/2 Cup Quick Cook Pearl barley

4 Cups lamb stock OR 4 cups of water and one 1.5 Oz. Glace d’Agneau Gold Classic Roasted Lamb Stock

5-6 Red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into half or quarters depending on size

1 Tbsp. butter

4 Green onions, finely sliced

Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Fresh thyme to garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large pot or dutch oven on the stove. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is really crisp. Remove the crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

2) Leave the bacon fat in the pot and add the carrots, onions, thyme and bay leaves.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and let cook 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Meanwhile, in a cast iron pan, add the remaining tablespoon of canola oil.  When really hot, but not smoking, add the lamb in an even layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  The pieces of lamb shouldn’t touch so they are able to brown all over.  Stir so all sides are browned.  Add to the pot with the veggies.  Note:  you may have to do this in a couple of batches.

4) Meanwhile, add the lamb demi glaze and four cups of water to a measuring cup and put in the microwave for 1 – 2 minutes.  Stir to dissolve the glaze into the water making a stock.  Put to the side.

5)  When all the lamb has been browned and added to the stew pot, pour the stock into the cast iron pan and scape up all the fond stuck to the bottom of the pan.  This will flavor the stock even more.   Add the stock to the stew pot and stir.  Top with the cut potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover the pot.

6)  Cook for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. Be sure to taste for salt and pepper and season again if needed.  Remove the thyme stems from the stew and discard.

7)  Add the quick cook barley and stir into the stew.  Cover the pot and cook for another 15 – 20 minutes.

8)  As with most stews, they are better the day after. At this point, you can let the stew cool completely and put in the refrigerator overnight and up to two days. When ready to serve, reheat in the oven or on the stove on low heat until completely heated through (about 35-45 minutes).

9)  If you couldn’t wait, or have reheated it, put small pieces of the butter on the potatoes.  Serve in bowls and garnish with the chopped green onion, the cooked bacon you saved from the first step and some fresh thyme.  Enjoy!  St. Paddy’s Day never tasted so good!

NOTES:  Nothing makes me happier than lamb.  I love the chops, shoulder blade and leg of lamb so there was no doubt I’d love lamb stew too.  There are several things that will make this dinner come out just great.  Here are my tips.

1)  If you use a boneless leg of lamb be sure to trim off the excess fat and the tough silver skin that you will find on the outside.  Using a very sharp knife remove that before cooking.  It is very tough when cooked.  Also be sure to dry the meat with paper towels so that it browns when seared rather than steams.

2)  It is very hard to find lamb stock in a grocery store and can also be expensive to make.  But, I’ve found this fabulous product that is a very concentrated glaze (gel) that can be turned into a stock.  Even that can be tricky to find but it is available at Amazon.

You can always use beef stock in a pinch and the results will be just fine.

3)  Yes, you can use regular pearl barley.  But looking for a a few short cuts never hurt anyone.  If you decide to use regular barley, add it when you add the stock so it cooks right along with the rest of the stew.

4)  This is the perfect make ahead dish.  It always tastes better the next day.  Isn’t that the golden rule of stews?  So do plan ahead.  It is the perfect meal for a crowd and since this and a great loaf of Irish soda bread can be made the day before, you’ve got a stress free holiday meal ready to go.

If you decide to make this as part of an Irish Food extravaganza, be sure to see my recipes for Irish Soda bread, Irish Coffee and my Irish Apple cake.  Better yet, check out my St. Paddy’s Day Menu ideas.

If you try it, be sure to share!

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