Luck of the Irish Stew

A big bowl of homemade Irish stew served with a loaf of freshly made soda and some butter on the side

Serves: 4-6
Prepare: 20 min
Cook: 3 hours 30 min

I thoroughly recommend going to Ireland and having a big bowl of their traditional Irish stew, usually served up with warm soda bread on the side. It’s hearty, delicious and exactly what you need to line your stomach if you want to keep up with the Irish on a night out. There’s a reason why you have Irish stew if you’re going to drink Guinness all night. You’ll never survive the night without it.

There is no comparison to eating a country’s dish in that country. Irish stew tastes the best when eaten in Ireland, just like Haggis, Neeps and Tatties taste best eaten in Scotland. However I’ve gave it a blooming good shot and created my own version of Ireland’s’ very finest.

Simple ingredients for a beautiful dish

I’ve made this a few times now and it’s a crowd pleaser. Once all the ingredients are in the pot it’s left to slowly cook until you get lovely soft meat and veg that melts in the mouth. If you are a lover of a slow cooker, follow the same principle and leave to cook on a low temperature for up to 8 hours.

It’s a simple dish served up with warm crusty soda bread, click here for a traditional soda bread recipe, which soaks up the beautiful thick gravy that accompanies the stew. I always like to save a little for lunch as the leftovers taste even better the next day. The herbs in the gravy smell so fragrant and always make colleagues jealous.

I highly recommend making your own soda bread. It’s a great recipe for bread making virgins as there is no proving time and it’s baked in only an hour. The best thing is that it’s a great way to show off. Just imagine everyone sitting round the table and serving up a big batch of stew and a lovely big loaf of warm soda bread on the table too. That’s how you show off your cooking skills!

You can choose to use beef or lamb for the stew. Lamb is the traditional choice of meat however I sometimes just use a beef roasting joint or brisket and cut it up into big chunks. Cooking the roast slowly ensures the meat becomes lovely and tender.

If you are vegetarian you can use Quorn meat or beans to substitute for the meat along with vegetable stock. It’s so adaptable to suit your needs and how much you want to spend, plus you can freeze the leftovers.

This makes a great alternative to a Sunday roast and especially for a big family get together. Go on give it a try…you won’t regret it!

Oh and don’t forget a pint of Guinness for that real Irish flavour.


  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 100g smoked streaky bacon, fat removed and cut into small chunks
  • 500g stewing lamb or beef, cut into large chunks
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 carrots, cubed
  • 3 large potatoes cut into small chunks
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 50g pearl barley
  • Small bunch thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pint lamb or beef stock


1 Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Place the lamb or beef cuts into the pot and brown the meat on all edges. Next add in the bacon and gently cook for 2-3 minutes.

2  Chuck the onions, carrots, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves and stock into the pot. Stir well and cover the pot with a lid. Cook on a medium heat for 1 hour then reduce the heat and allow to cook on a low heat for a further hour, stirring occasionally.

3 Finally add in the pearl barley and leeks and cook for a final hour.

4  Once the meat has cooked, the vegetables are soft and the gravy has thickened, then you are ready to serve.

5 Dish up in large bowls with fresh crusty soda bread on the side.

If you enjoyed this recipe and would like to see more, please click here.


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