New York City has a very large Irish population and St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular holidays. While most people immediately think of Soda Bread, Colcannon and Corned Beef when they think of St. Patty’s as well as the copious amounts of alcohol consumed, I immediately think of freezing my butt off. When I was in high school, I joined the band in my sophomore year and played the glockenspiel. For three weeks straight, there were St. Patrick’s Day parades in every section of New York, but the big Manhattan parade was the worst. Three layers of clothes with single digit temperatures carrying that stupid instrument, marching down 5th avenue having to navigate around the horse dung from the mounted police officers. Let’s just say this parade was one of the main reasons I decided to quit the band after just one year.
Usually on St. Patrick’s Day now, I head straight home and try to be out of Manhattan as early as possible. The drunk people on the subways start at around noon. Yes, I know the Irish are known from Guinness and whisky, but I don’t know why people feel the need to over indulge on this holiday. It’s not like St. Patrick was the patron saint of liquor. While we all enjoy Irish food and drink on the holiday, few of us know the history of St. Patrick in Ireland. Let’s learn a little history before you enjoy this delicious lamb stew.
St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 5th century. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland when he was 16. While there, he worked as a shephard and found God. Patrick eventually escaped and returned home, where he became a priest. He eventually returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. There are many legends associated with St. Patrick which leads to his great popularity in Ireland and the complete Irish diaspora worldwide.
Don’t miss this Irish Potato Apple Cake for dessert!
Irish Lamb Stew
- 1 1/2 lbs. lamb loin chops
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
- 5 large mint leaves finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons oil divided
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt and pepper mix
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1 bottle Guinness beer
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 3 potatoes chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
- Using a cleaver, cut the loin chops in half. Combine meat with chopped rosemary, mint and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Toss to combine and leave to marinate for 1 hour.
- Toss the meat with flour, salt and pepper.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the other 2 tablespoons of oil. Add meat and sear on both sides. Remove from pot.
- Add onions and garlic. Saute until they start to change color.
- Add tomatoes, Guinness and broth. Add bay leaves, rosemary, sage and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours.
- Add potatoes, peas and carrots. Cook for another 20 minutes.
- Adjust salt and pepper, as needed