There’s a growing sense of Irish pride and national purpose at the moment with the Rugby world cup on so I wanted to do something Irish, to make a contribution and be part of the surge of green euphoria. There’s a big match on this Sunday, Ireland v France. My husband is beside himself with anticipation and I can’t help but get caught up in the Irish dream of a Rugby World Cup trophy. Come on Ireland!!!
Irish Stew is a perfect family dish, the kids love it, mammy and daddy love it and mammy loves throwing everything into the slow cooker and leaving it to cook all by itself. It’s a comfort dish and can be made to serve for 2 or 3 days, in fact, it even tastes better on the second day. I usually put everything but the potatoes in and add the potatoes later but this time I just put everything in at the same time thinking if the potatoes get a little over cooked it’ll still be good with mushy spuds. When I came back 6 hours later however everything was just perfect. My stew is a little different to what some would call the original Irish stew as I have used a bit of garlic and ginger, but the whole idea of stew in the olden times was that you made it with whatever was available, which wasn’t much. The humble potato, the staple ingredient of stew, has a great and tragic history in Ireland. In the mid 1800’s 20% of Ireland’s population was solely dependant on potatoes to survive so when there was a potato blight the consequences were harrowing. In the Irish Famine of 1845-1852 1 million people died of starvation and another million people emigrated reducing Ireland’s population by 20-25%. The Irish Famine has been called the Potato Famine and perhaps more appropriately The Great Hunger. The tragedy was that there was no famine, only the failure of one food crop, potatoes. The peasant farmers were so poor and badly treated by their English Landlords that the loss of potatoes meant dying slowly of hunger. So sad. It’s great to see a prosperous and modern Ireland today where the potato is still so important to our diet but where modernity has brought variety and plenty. Again I say, come on Ireland!! If you’d like to read a little more on this subject of the Irish struggle in the Potato Famine please do, it’s an important history with lessons for today.
Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes
Number of servings: 6
This dish can be prepared in the oven or a hob but the cooking time should be adjusted.
450g of stew beef
3 celery sticks
4 to 6 bay leafs
1 big white onion
3 large potatoes
2 beef stock cubes
2 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
4 big potatoes
Bunch of parsley (keep some for garnish)
Bunch of thyme
pepper to taste
Water as required
- Peel and chop all the root vegetables but cut the potatoes in 1/2.
- In the slow cooker start by adding the bay leafs, ginger garlic, celery, parsnip, turnip , carrots then the meat.
- Add about 1.5 pint of chicken or vegetable broth
- Set on low for 6 hrs or high for 4 hours
- When it's time to serve, garnish with parsley and mix.