The Guardian - Feast - - Feast -

Tra­di­tion­ally, mut­ton or kid would have been used, rather than the more valu­able lamb. If you can find ei­ther, or in­deed hogget, they’ll give your dish a bet­ter flavour. I have tried breast, loin chops, shanks and bone­less stew­ing meat, but neck of­fers the best com­bi­na­tion of flavour and tex­ture, melting its fat and sinew into the gravy af­ter two hours of pa­tient sim­mer­ing.


As food writer Ni­amh Shields puts it, “Ir­ish stew without pota­toes is not Ir­ish stew”, but it can be hard over here to get the very floury va­ri­eties favoured for their thick­en­ing qual­i­ties. Go for the driest you can find, and add Put a layer of

pota­toes in the base of the casse­role, then top with the fried onions, lamb and thyme them in two stages: thinly sliced right at the be­gin­ning, as All in the Cook­ing, first pub­lished in 1946, rec­om­mends; then cubed at the end, as in Diana Henry’s Roast Figs, Sugar Snow and in chef Richard Cor­ri­gan’s recipes. Al­ter­na­tively, you can thicken the gravy with a roux, as Da­rina Allen’s Bal­ly­maloe Cook­ery Course sug­gests, which means that, like Mena Rogers of Co Roscom­mon, who was taught by her own mother, Anne Gil­hooly, a renowned cook, you can use waxy pota­toes in­stead, if you pre­fer the tex­ture.

The other veg

Onions are the only other musthave, but car­rots add a pleas­ant sweet­ness, and if you’d like an


1Sweat the sliced onions over a medium flame un­til soft­ened, then re­move and set aside

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