Saturday 11 March 2017

Irish Stew

Irish Stew

Many recipes share their food history. Cultures and borders have crossed and intertwined since time immemorial. Unravelling its lineage is often the most fascinating. 
While researching the origins of the wonderful comfort food called Irish Stew ( a simple yet hearty meat and potato dish), I happened to stumble across the interesting cross over of a French dish called Blanquettes; the very elegant French comfort food is pretty much the same, yet finished off with a silky egg yolk and cream rather than the rustic flour-butter roux and milk that is more typical of the Irish. Here is my version of the recipe, definitely Parsi Food style!

Serves 6 persons

1 tbsp oil
I kg bone in lamb/mutton/goat/veal
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large onion
2 green chillies 
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp grated ginger 
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half
2 large carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
20 very little pearl onions
6 whole cloves
12  whole pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup green peas
1/ 4 cup plain flour
60 gm salted butter
1 cup whole milk
Optional - a bay leaf

In a pan, add the oil, meat, and salt. Brown till the colour of the meat turns to a light caramel and the oils of the meat are released. Now add the grated onions, green chillies, garlic, and ginger. Mix well. Add 4 cups of hot water, bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat, and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the potatoes, carrots, and the pearl onions, along with the cloves, black pepper, and cinnamon stick. Cover the pan and continue cooking for another 45 minutes. If the meat and potatoes are very soft and well cooked, check how much of the gravy has evaporated.
In a small bowl with a fork, mix the flour and the butter until it resembles little pebbles. Add this to the pot, stir well, and bring to a boil. Allow it to cook until most of the water has evaporated and the gravy is fairly thick. Now add the cup of milk and mix well, allowing the gravy to be nice and creamy.
Serve with crusty bread and delicious Irish butter.

The green chillies and small pearl onions are an option. 
You may reduce the amount of oil but not the butter or the milk. You may need to add a tad more milk if you find the gravy too thick for your liking.
Perfect for a cold wintry day, it is a soul-warming comfort food.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Photo courtesy Pashna Munshi

Readers comments

11th October 2017
Mahrukh Behrana Congratulations Nilu! 2 recipes I have used often are Irish Stew and Ras Chawal. The latter reminds me of my mum's. tastes exactly like hers. Thanks.

Perfect Irish stew just like Mamma makes. Thank you.

Sheeraz Y. Wania Tried and tested and turns out great 👍

Pashna M September 29th 2021
Dear Niloufer,
Tashan introduced me to this lovely recipe after the recent birth of my son. Not only was it healthy but so heartwarming and brought back memories of home made comfort food from Bombay! Best wishes Pashna

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