Irish stew

Irish stew

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(47 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs


Serves 6
The trick with this classic one-pot is to use a cheaper cut of meat, which means you’ll skimp on price but not quality

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal627
  • fat30g
  • saturates14g
  • carbs44g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre0g
  • protein49g
  • salt2.13g
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  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

  • 200g smoked streaky bacon, preferably in one piece, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 900g stewing lamb, cut into large chunks



    A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender…

  • 5 medium onions, sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 5 carrots, sliced into chunks



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 3 bay leaves
  • small bunch thyme


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 100g pearl barley
  • 850ml lamb stock
  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • small knob of butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…


  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Sizzle the bacon for 4 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat, then cook the lamb for 6 mins until brown. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon. Add the onions, carrots and herbs to the pan, then cook for about 5 mins until softened. Return the meat to the pan, stir in the pearl barley, pour over the stock, then bring to a simmer.

  2. Sit the chunks of potato on top of the stew, cover, then braise in the oven, undisturbed, for about 1½ hrs until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. The stew can now be chilled and kept in the fridge for 2 days, then reheated in a low oven or on top of the stove. Remove from the oven, dot the potatoes with butter, scatter with the spring onions and serve scooped straight from the dish.

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Comments, questions and tips

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8th Sep, 2018
Absolutely delicious.
27th Sep, 2016
Lovely recipe. Just thought I'd add a quote from Wikipedia for all the naysayers and know-it-alls. Irish stew is any variety of meat-and-root vegetables stew native to Ireland. As in all traditional folk dishes, the exact recipe is not consistent from time or place to place. Wikipedia
20th Apr, 2016
You should never put bacon in a Irish stew same goes for sausages, they belong in a coddle not a stew. Only meat you should be using it lamb and some nice pieces of beef diced. And a parsnip should be added to that list along with a few missing ingredients.
stelaholder's picture
17th Apr, 2016
Great easy recipe. I cooked mine in the oven for almost 4 hours.
10th Apr, 2016
True Irish stew or not, it's delicious! Left out the barley so it was gluten-free and didn't miss it. Served it with home-made (gluten-free) soda bread and the whole family loved it! Will definitely be a regular in our house.
10th Jan, 2016
Sorry I made this and it smelt and tasted awful to be honest the smell made me feel sick ! I don't get how people could like it! It's rank !!!
Loch's picture
29th Oct, 2016
yeah... I am pretty sure that's the pearl barleys fault... it can be a tricky ingredient to work with. ginamyatt also said there was a problem with theirs fermenting in the fridge ... I either leave it out or cook it separately and add at the last minute. Pearl barley can make a dish smell like out of date chick peas at times... not nice.
20th Feb, 2015
Nice looking recipe but definitely not Irish stew.
28th Nov, 2014
Are you unsure on making this dish? JUST MAKE IT! I wasn't sure whether to make this dish after reading previous comments but I'm glad I did. I forgot the barley but it was delicious without it anyway. When putting the onions in I also used mixed herbs, all purpose seasoning and some Worcestershire Sauce (only a few drops). I used lamb oxo cubes for the stock, I didn't have a measuring jug so I had to estimate, I used 5 oxo cubes in total and served with tiger bread. I will definitely be making this meal (with my own little take) again.
20th Oct, 2014
Really impressed with this recipe. I had never used pearl barley or successfully cooked lamb tender enough before. I soaked the parley for a couple of hours before. Did panic when it still didn't thicken after 3 hours - but realised I hadnt added potatoes so par-boiled potatoes them and it thickened like a dream with no need for thickening agent. A couple of tips : Cook long and on low heat. After draining the par-boiled spuds put back in pan, cover with lid and shake a bit (to release a load of starch) before adding to stew. 10 out of 10.


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Pee's picture
16th Nov, 2013
I have made this many times and love it. I use cubed lamb steaks, kind of defeats purpose of a 'cheap' dish but it cuts down on fat etc.