How To Make Traditional Irish Stew

Traditional Irish Stew Recipe

People tend to think there is a special recipe to make traditional Irish Stew but to be honest, there is nothing special about this Irish recipe except that it tastes delicious.

There are only four ingredients to Irish Stew making it a very low cost meal.

With  potatoes being the main ingredient a typical bowl of Stew is enough as one serving but the great thing about this recipe is that it still tastes good when re-heated.

Its probably safe to say that every Irish family have their own method of making stew by adding their own ingredients for flavouring. Always remember though, keep this recipe simple.

Ingredients for cooking Traditional Irish Stew

  • 2 large onions
  • 4 large Carrots
  • ½ stewing steak / mince or lamb
  • 8 large potatoes
  • Salt & pepper (personal preference)

How to make Traditional Irish stew

  • Wash and cut onions into moderate size chunks and add to the pot. (dont like onions? Do not worry, this can still be cooked without onions).
  • Wash carrots and cut into chunks (some prefer thicker chunks for taste).
  • Wash and peel the potatoes (spuds) then cut each one in half.
  • Slice the meat into smaller pieces. If using stewing mince roll into meatballs.
  • Get a large pot and fill it with water. Add the potatoes and meat.
  • Heat pot until water boils then add carrots and onions.
  • Keep on a low boil and stir every now and then until vegetables are cooked.
  • Serve hot!

Cooking time for the Irish stew should be approximately 60 minutes or when the meat is fully cooked and the potatoes are soft inside (check using a fork) but there is no harm in keeping it on a very low heat for longer. It can also be reheated to be served later.

Serving Irish Stew

As a hearty meal Irish Stew can be served almost any time of day although we would draw the line with eating it for breakfast. Served up in a bowl when its piping hot Irish Stew makes a delicious lunch or dinner on a damp cold day. Along with a couple of slices of bread with some Kerry Gold butter this make the perfect comfort meal.

Family traditions & stew for kids

Many Irish people have been feeding on stew since they were toddlers and it has become in its own right an Irish tradition.

Our own mother would make a large pot of Stew for lunch every Saturday in the winter months. She would serve it in large bowls with freshly cut bread and butter to be washed down with either a glass of water or milk. Today its something we repeat with our own kids and hopefully they’ll continue in making this delicious meal.

If you are serving stew to a toddler its a good idea to only serve them part of the spuds & carrots by mashing it together, this should also soak up the gravy. Let it sit and cool before feeding as stew is usually served piping hot.

What meat to use for Irish Stew

There is no set rule on what type of meeting you can use, many prefer a beef stew, or a lamb stew, and even a mince stew. A personally favourite is mince stew, rolling the mince into small meat balls.

Experimenting with Irish Stew

Its blasphemous we suggest this but experimenting with stew can bring out some fantastic recipes. It is common for people to add some extra ingredients to give the stew more taste or to thicken it. A small amount of beef gravy granules can do the trick, don’t be afraid to experiment.

Here are just some of the extra ingredients you can try for yourself:

  • Mushrooms
  • Parsley
  • Herbs
  • Oxtail powdered soup
  • Table Sauce (Brown)
  • Ketchup
  • Curry powder (no this is not a typo and actually tastes great)
Just remember though, its not a traditional Irish stew when you add the extras.

First published on December 27, 2015 and last modified on October 17, 2018.

About the Author

Róisín Anraí
Róisín is a cat lover who is also a freelance writer and regular contributor to our site.