Warm up this winter with a healthy Irish stew

As the cold days of winter become increasingly imminent, cravings turn to comfort foods and a vegetable laden Irish stew may just be the ultimate warming meal.

While some stews do closely resemble soups, the difference tends to be the consistency, with less liquid and longer cooking times, stews have a healthier and smoother texture. Heavier ingredients and less liquid can result in a more caloric meal, but if done right, an Irish stew can be a healthy, filling option.

With a mix of healthy carbs, lean protein, and lots of veggies, a bowl of stew has all the makings of a well-rounded meal plus eating your dinner with a spoon instantly slows you down, leading you to eat less overall.

Ingredients

1-1½ kg neck or shoulder of lamb

Bouquet of parsley, thyme and bayleaf (tied together with twine )

3 large onions, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3-4 carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 leek, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 small turnip, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Some small new potatoes, peeled and quartered, or large potatoes, peeled and chopped

75-100g cabbage, shredded

Finely chopped parsley and dash of Worcester Sauce

To Cook

Remove the meat from the bone, trim off all the fat and cut into cubes. Keep the bones, place the meat in a pot, cover with cold salted water. Bring to the boil, drain and rinse the lamb.

In a fresh pot put the meat, bones, bouquet of herbs, onions, seasoning, carrots, leeks and turnip and cover with water. Simmer gently for one hour. Skim off the foam as it rises. (this is very important for the final flavour and appearance of the stew. ) Add the potatoes and continue cooking for 25 minutes. For the last 5 minutes add in the cabbage. When the meat and vegetables are cooked remove the bones and bouquet of herbs. Stir in the chopped parsley and a dash of Worcester sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Serve in deep bowls with soda bread.

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