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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Irish Stew

This is the real McCoy. The true Irish Stew as made in the Gresham Hotel every wednesday for the shopping people who would come from rural Ireland to do their fancy shopping in the big city. I bet they make it there to this day. It was made in a huge 'rondeau' and the whole thing was sold before lunch was over. This is really where I learned how to make Irish Stew and since then have made it all over the world.
For this I used:
1 lamb chop and one shoulder chop
3 russet potatoes
1/4 head of green cabbage
I leek
1/2 and onion
1 parsnip
I stalk of celery
Water, thyme,bay leaf, salt and pepper.
Blanche the chops and wash them off. Put them at the bottom of an appropriately sized sauce pan. Chop the onion, celery and leek in to smallish dice so they won't disappear once cooked. Cut the cabbage into larger pieces. Peel and halve the potaoes.
Put the small chopped vegetables on top of the lamb with the thyme and bay leaf. Add a little seasoning. Put the cabbage on top of that and just cover with water. Add the halved potatoes. Bring to boil and allow to simmer until cooked. When the potatoes are cooked on top the lamb is usually cooked on the bottom.
Remove half of the potatoes and roughly mash them, add some of the juice to these potatoes and make a kind of rough mashed potatoes . Return this mash to the stew, cover and let sit for a good 45 minutes on a very low and eventually no heat. This will allow the flavors to combine and the stew to thicken.
When ready serve in bowls with some of the whole poatoes and some chopped parsley.
The owner of Clerys in Dublin was a Corkman I believe. He would come into the restaurant once a week and he always had Irish Stew. I think he came in on Thursday. I worked in Clery's restaurant on the top floor at this time. The Irish Stew always had to be the same for Mr. Clery and his wife so the same person made it every week. This man's name was Eamonn and he was the principal sous chef. He never smiled and he was one of the few Dubliners that I have known who was completey devoid of any wit whatsoever. That is until; from time to time he would come out with a very dry statement or joke that was  always out of character for him. He would then laugh at his own joke and we would all marvel at the fact that he had teeth in his mouth. Otherwise we never saw them, it was only when he smiled that he showed his teeth. We were kids at the time but we used to gather round when we felt that one of his witticisms was due and wait to see the pearly whites.
He made a great Irish Stew though.

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