Irish stew

Irish stew

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(57 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

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 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 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

  • 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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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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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.
cheshire dame
30th Sep, 2014
Generally, I'm not a fan of stews or casseroles however it was lovely. As there only two of us I halved the ingredients and also tailored it slightly in that I par boiled the potatoes and carrots whilst the lamb and bacon were cooking. I then put everything in the slow cooker for 3 hours. I served it in large rimmed pasta/soup bowls with green vegetables to make it look more professional!
17th Mar, 2014
Delicious. Wasn't sure if this was my kind of dish. Promised I'd make an Irish Stew for my husband for St Paddys Day. We both loved it. Used two thick slices of leg of lamb (cubed) as these were the same price as lamb cubes at the butchers. Will make again.
13th Mar, 2014
Smoked bacon has no place in Irish stew. What ever this dish is, it is not Irish stew!
9th Mar, 2014
Be warned what a disaster I used this recipe to make a110 portions for an Irish night using £160.00 worth of lamb the following morning I took it out of the fridge and it was all fermenting so I had to throw it all away and remake it. What a waste of time and money.
7th Mar, 2014
I hated this recipe, sorry but this is probably the worst thing I have cooked from this website, it was thin, watery and very disappointing. I can't cook very well so tend to follow the recipes to the letter, and I have read all of the other comments, tips etc...added a little marmite as mentioned for richness but it was horrible. Greasy, even after I chilled it and removed the solid fat off the top. This is not one that I would make again ever as lamb is expensive, even stewing cuts, I simply hated it I am sorry :-(
3rd Feb, 2014
***** I've made this a couple of times now but I cook the potatoes separately in salted water and add them at the end they taste much better that way. I also cook the stew the day before I need it and scrape any lamb fat off the top before I reheat it and I add extra stock.
20th Oct, 2013
I made it with beef stew and added strips of lamb fat cutted from lamb chops (there is usually too much fat on it) for the taste. 1/4 can of Irish Stout beer (instead of barley) 3/2 carrots and parsnip, pepper and beef stock cubes (instead of lamb stock) Jummie!!
18th Aug, 2013
Add a little Worcestershire Sauce to spike it up a little.


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