Tasty, Irish Lamb Stew with Dumplings

Tasty, Irish Lamb Casserole

Stew 3

I’ve just popped this delicious-smelling, tasty lamb stew in the oven and I can’t wait to eat it. I have some Irish ancestry, so I’m going to call this an Irish Stew. I’ve been making beef and chicken stews and the kids are starting to get sick of the same ones, so I wanted to make a stew using lamb for a nice change.

Like all good stews, you begin by frying your onions, garlic and celery in butter and olive oil. Next, you add your floured-meat to fry the edges of the meat, so that the goodness within is sealed, so to speak. Then, you add your veggies, stock, herbs and pop in the oven for ages, until the meat is tender and soft.

Stews are my favourite to make, as they are incredibly rich and flavoursome, they make a big potfull so that you can eat leftovers, or freeze, and they are ultimately very healthy. They provide a balanced meal, with meat, veggies, carbohydrates and a small amount of fats.

Here’s how I made this Irish stew:

Ingredients Veggies

  • 4-5 bacon rashers, without fat, finely chopped
  • a cup full of good quality lamb, chopped up into bite size pieces
  • Flour to coat the meat before frying
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 medium-sized potatoes, chopped
  • 4 medium-sized carrots, chopped
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 11/2 cups of beef stock

Method

  1. Throw a generous amount of butter (3 tbsps.) and some olive oil into a cast iron pot, along with the bacon. Fry.
  2. Next, add the onions, garlic, and celery. Fry until onion is translucent.
  3. Coat your meat in flour and fry to seal the goodness within.
  4. Add your beef stock. When I make my beef stew, if I’ve added too much water and it looks like my stew will be too runny in the end, I take excess out and freeze to use as beef stock in future. I have used this beef stock in this recipe, but you can use ordinary beef stock if you don’t have any home-made stock on hand.
  5. Add all the vegetables, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.
  6. Pop in the oven for at least an hour and 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Frustrating mum moment: Now, I could swear that I bought fresh thyme at the shops, but I can’t find it anywhere. I vividly remember selecting some but it’s not in the fridge. So annoying! I suspect my groceries were piled so high on the conveyer belt that it may have fallen off and been missed. Darn it! I’m going to have to use another herb instead. I’ve chosen oregano, purely because I don’t normally use oregano in my stews, so I suppose it will give it a different flavour. I’d definitely use thyme over oregano.

Note 1: You could also throw in some fresh parsley and a dash of white wine.

Note 2: Feel free to make my home-made dumplings to throw in towards the end of cooking. To see how to make these, click on any of my other stew/casserole recipes. I made these ones today with oregano. You can see them in the cover photo. I can’t make a stew without dumplings! They really are the highlight of the dish. I reckon my kids would refuse to eat stew without dumplings too!

Dumplings

 

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Buttery Chicken Stew with Dumplings

dishh

Hearty Chicken Stew with Dumplings

You may have guessed by now, but I’m a big stew fan. Why? Because you essentially throw all your meat, veggies, and herbs in a pot and cook. Honestly, they’re so easy! The only time consuming part is cutting up the meat and veggies. And, well, if you want to eat healthily, you want to eat vegetables, and so, of course, this is going to mean you have to chop them up. No way around that.

stewwI’ve already shared a couple of stews, AKA casseroles, with you, but this is my favourite chicken stew. Not many people cook chicken stews. I don’t know why. Perhaps because the white meat cooks quickly, unlike red meat, so there’s an assumption that you can’t cook it over a longer period of time? Not true…in this case, anyway.

Basically, make your stew. When it’s been in the oven for 55 minutes, begin making your dumplings (see below recipe). Add these into your stew and cook for a further 20 minutes. So, without further adieu, here’s the recipe:

What you’ll need: pot

  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 bok choy
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • Fresh or 1tsp dried tarragon
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 3 tablespoons of cornflour or flour
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

Magic Method

  • Note: Ideally, you will need a pot that can be used both on the stove and in the oven. If you don’t already have one, check this one out:

 

  1. Fry your onion, garlic and celery in some butter and olive oil until soft.
  2. Add your chopped-up chicken and brown.
  3. Coat the chicken with the cornflour and stir in pot.
  4. Add all your chopped-up veggies, herbs, salt and pepper.
  5. Add your stock, milk and parmesan. Stir.
  6. Transfer pot into the oven and cook for approximately 55 minutes.
  7. Add you dumplings and cook for a further 20 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!
  • Note: Check that you have some liquid still in the pot before putting in your dumplings.

To make the dumplings

Put 1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour in a bowl. Add 50g of soft butter. Rub butter into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Like this:

crumbs

Next, add a few tablespoons of milk, until it forms a dough. Roll into little balls and drop into stew. They should look like this:

dumplings

  • Note: This stew can be popped in the freezer. It can also be kept in the fridge for one day. It does not contain preservatives, so must be eaten no later than the day after it is made.

 

 

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Hearty Medieval Beef & Veg Stew with Dumplings!

stew 1

I’m going to let you in on another best kept secret: Stew! I’m talking Medieval cooking where you throw the meat into a pot with vegetables and cook it for ages until all the flavours blend together in one big, hearty pot of goodness. I mean, if we want to be truthful, this is caveman cooking!

Again, I’ve told you about the beauty of casseroles, soups, steamed rice & veggies, as meals for busy working mums. Well, add stews to that list! Basically, a stew and casserole is the same thing – that I know of – but I mix it up by using both terms, so that the kids don’t get bored of hearing the same thing for dinner! Shh, don’t tell them they’re the same thing!

To make this a balanced meal in itself, add barley or a bit of soup mixture (barley and lentils). This way, you have meat, veggies AND a carb.

To begin, you’ll need to buy lots of root veggies and other types of veggies to put in your pot. Root veggies are best as they retain their shape. Others go all gooey and gushy after so long in the oven.

I’ve just popped this dish in the oven for tonight’s dinner, and before that, I took this pic to show you what I’ve put in today’s stew:

veggies

As you can see, I have used the following: carrots, zucchini, asparagus, potatoes, corn (which I’ll cut off the cob), garlic, onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes (I think Americans call them something different, I’m thinking Kumara?), broccoli, parsley and bay leaves from my own garden (I love that!).

bay

On that note, buying a bay tree is the best. I have two in pots and, whenever I need to use their leaves, I simply pop outside and pick them freshly off my trees. Here’s a pic of my beautiful bay leaf tree…

 

 

Aside from the ingredients that I’ve mentioned, you’ll also need beef stock and diced beef.

 

 

I use a big cast iron pot that can cook on the stove and then be moved into the oven. I suggest you invest in one, if you haven’t got one. It makes life easier. If you don’t have one, it means you’re using two different pots, which means more washing up, which in my book means too much hard work!

This is what my pot looks like:

pot

 

Now for theMethod’

  1. So, begin by cutting up all the veggies and set aside.
  2. Next, you’re going to throw a big chunk of butter into the bottom of your pot and fry your onions and garlic.
  3. Quickly coat your diced beef in plain flour. Once the onions and garlic are soft, add your floured meat and brown.
  4. Throw in all your veggies.
  5. Pour some hot water from the tap into your pot but only fill a quarter of the pot. Your veggies and meat should nearly be to the top. See the photo right at the top to see what this stage should look like.
  6. Add your bay leaves, stock, salt and pepper.
  7. Pop in the oven and cook on about 170 (that’s Celsius, not Fahrenheit) for a good hour and a half. You’ll know when it’s ready as the meat will fall apart easily with a fork.

Did I say ‘DUMPLINGS’?

Now for the piece de resistance! Just when you thought the stew was sounding good enough, it gets even better! Yep, I’m going to tell you how to add dumplings – your own, hand-made dumplings – into this pot. Now dumplings need about 20-25 minutes to cook. So, check your stew, and when you think it has around this amount of time to go, add your dumplings. If all the water has been absorbed, add a little more with stock. By the end, the dumplings take on the flavour and transform into buttery, doughy balls of deliciousness.

butter and flourYou basically rub butter into flour, as you would when you make scones (again, I think Americans call scones something else. Sorry, I can’t remember what). Anyways, use approximately 2 cups of flour (I love plain flour as I like my scones to be thick and chewy, but you can use SR Flour for fluffy ones. It really doesn’t matter which flour you use) and 5 tablespoons of butter. This is not an exact measurement. I appreciate that some people might find making a dough difficult, so here is a picture of my flour and butter to the right of this paragraph.

butter crumbs

 

Next, rub the butter into the flour with your fingers, until they resemble breadcrumbs – see left.

 

 

 

Dumplings.jpg

Now, you need to add a few tablespoons of milk at a time until this forms a dough. You can add a fresh herb at this point if you like. I love thyme. Then, roll into little balls. Don’t be precious about the appearance of the balls. They’re going to be thrown into your stew now, so don’t waste time making them look pretty!

Drop them in, and that’s it, you’re done. Wait 20 mins or so, then enjoy!

Note, I normally serve this with buttered toast. Here’s picture of the finished stew.

stew 2

 

 

And, what makes this a Busy Working Mums’ favourite? 

Freezing leftovers, of course!

 

 

 

Hope you enjoy this as much as my family does! Post me a comment and let me know.

 

 

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