Almost Irish Stew

This is an Almost Irish Stew because I am from over the sea from Ireland and it uses bacon rather than the more usual lamb or mutton. The final stew is a close equivalent even if it does get me in trouble with the Irish.

It is almost a hotpot too with the use of a topping of potato slices that add crunchiness to the finished stew.

Serve as it is or add a side dish of green vegetables. Some bread can go well too and, for greater authenticity, that should be Irish Soda Bread.

Serves 4

Cooking Time: 90 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 pack Bacon Misshapes. They usually weigh around the 250g or ½lb size but the exact amount is not important
  • 4 large Potatoes around 900g/2lb in weight
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 medium Onions
  • 1 small Swede or Turnip
  • 1 large Parsnip
  • 500ml/1 pint Chicken Stock
  • Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper
  • Fresh parsley

Method

  1. Break up the Bacon Misshapes and cut into smallish pieces. No two packets are the same so the amount of cutting can vary a lot from one pack to another.
  2. Thickly slice 3 of the potatoes but thinly slice one. About 1cm for the thick slices and ½cm for the thin slices. Keep separate.
  3. Peel the Swede then chop into roughly rectangular bite sized pieces.
  4. Peel and thickly slice the parsnip.
  5. Slice the carrot. Normally no need to peel but if the skin looks dry then scrape it off first.
  6. Peel and roughly chop the onion.
  7. Mix the Bacon, vegetables and parsley in a bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Lightly grease a casserole dish with olive oil then layer half of the thick potatoes at the bottom.
  9. Spread half of the diced bacon and vegetable mixture over the potato.
  10. Repeat the previous step to create a second layer then top with the thinly sliced potato.
  11. Pour in sufficient stock so that the top layer of potato is just above it. The top potato should be dry so it can crisp.
  12. Cover and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes then increase the heat to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Remove the lid from the casserole dish at this point and cook for a further 15-20 minutes to crisp the top layer of potato.
  13. Serve with Brussels Sprouts, Peas, Broad Beans or another green vegetable.

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