Cook's Illustrated Recipes»Stews»Irish»Lamb»Irish Stew with Carrots and Turnips Recipe

This humble stew may have sustained generations, but the flavor got lost along the way. Basic need not be bland.

The Problem

Traditionally, Irish stew is bland-it's made with just lamb, onions, potatoes, and water with no browning or precooking to boost the flavor.

The Goal

We wanted a rich, deeply flavored stew as delicious as it is filling-the sort of dish for cold winter nights and snowbound days.

The Solution

Choosing the right cut of meat was half the battle. We found that slicing the meat off the bone from a lamb shoulder chop, browning it, and then adding the bones and meat to the stewing liquid made a rich-tasting broth, possessed of the velvety texture that only marrow-rich bones can contribute. Thoroughly browning the onions contributed even more flavor. Lastly, we had to choose the right potato. Yukon Golds were the hands-down winners-we appreciated their buttery, rich flavor as well as the soft, creamy texture they contributed to the stew. The only other flavorings required were a bit of thyme and a garnish of parsley.