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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25th Feb, 2011
This was nice enough but we felt that the smoked bacon overpowered the dish. I feel that the "welsh cawl" recipe on this site works far better
16th Feb, 2011
Fab-u-lous. I made this with a leg of lamb that I had gotten in the reduced isle of Asda, cut into cubes, left out the bacon and cooked it on the hob instead of the oven and it was wonderful. Clean plates all round. This has been added to my midweek staples.
12th Feb, 2011
DELICIOUS! And very hearty! Will be making it again very soon!
23rd Jan, 2011
This is such a good recipe and I love the way you can make it so rustic. I made this in the slow cooker but I used sage instead of thyme and I used lamb steaks. I also mixed some cornflour with water and added that to make it really thick because I don't eat barley. I bought those really small carrots you can get and put them in whole. Left it in slow cooker for hours and hours on low and the family loved it.
22nd Jan, 2011
this is a great recipe - fool proof agrees with all the comments about the next day, if you can wait that long to eat it!
12th Jan, 2011
This is absolutely delicious, I did leave out the bacon in this recipe and I don't think it was lacking in flavour. I reduced the recipe slightly to make enough to serve four people and I added a leek as I had less onions than the recipe needed. Browned off the meat and cooked all of this in the slow-cooker on low with about 450ml of liquid to serve 4 people to 500g lamb. It was delicious and made the house smell wonderful when I got home from work! Well done Barney!
6th Dec, 2010
Very good, lovely way to use barley. Real lovely winter dish and easy to make. Will be making again!!
4th Dec, 2010
I made mine in the slow cooker and it was lovely and tender. I browned the meats ans then put everything in the slow cooker except the barley, and left it overnight. Came out delicious! I left the barley out completely in the end as I wasn't sure what happens when you slow cook it, so I made some dumplings instead. Really nice and filling on such a cold winter's day.
12th Nov, 2010
Well, this went really badly for me.....!! I bought scrag end from my butcher and I felt really confident of a good result. Here's what went wrong: I couldn't fit it all in my casserole dish! When I took it out of the oven it had really dried out - the pearl barley had soaked up all the stock. It was more like a risotto. Scrag end is horrible stuff....It has a massive bone in the middle and, whilst all the fat does "melt down" there's an awful lot of tough stuff that doesn't. I ended up pulling the meat out of the stew and then pulling all the nice bits of meat off with a fork and stirring it back in. Also the large amount of fat made the stew very fatty!! Sorry to be so negative!
31st Oct, 2010
Lovely, the barley pearls give a nice twist to the stew


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