Hands On Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 2–3 hours
Equipment: casserole with lid
I have been making the same Irish stew for years, with good
reason; it’s a tried-and-tested family recipe that brings instant
comfort. Recently, however, these Cheddar dumplings were
added to the traditional recipe and I’m not sure I can go back
now! The beauty of this stew is that it benefits from being made
ahead – just finish if off by making the dumplings the next day.
1.2kg boneless lean lamb, trimmed of excess fat and shoulder or neck, cut into large chunks
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 tbsp pearl barley
1 bay leaf
2–3 thyme sprigs
1 litre fresh chicken stock
2 large waxy potatoes, diced Sea salt and black pepper For the dumplings
175g self-raising flour
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
50g Cheddar, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan).
2. Season the lamb and dust lightly with the flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large casserole over a medium heat and brown the lamb all over in batches. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
3. Add the remaining oil to the casserole and gently fry the onions, celery and carrot for 5 minutes until softened. Scatter the pearl barley into the casserole then place the lamb chunks on top along with the bay leaf, thyme sprigs and stock. Add the potatoes, season well then bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
4.Add all the ingredients for the dumplings to a mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips. Season well, then gradually add up to 100ml of water until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Using floured hands, shape into 12 evenly sized balls and set aside.
5.Remove the casserole from the oven and increase the heat to 200°C (180°C fan). Place the dumplings around the edge of the stew. Re-cover and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes until the dumplings are pillowy – to brown the dumplings, cook for another few minutes uncovered. Serve in deep bowls.