I have only been to Ireland twice, and while achingly beautiful, the weather sometimes does leave a little something to be desired. The cold, damp air casts its net around your bones, and has a way of working into every nook and cranny of your being, reminding you just how valuable a hot water bottle and bowl of thick, hearty, stew can be; the penetrating chill of the Irish Sea can only be matched by foods that stick to your ribs if you know what I mean.
It is often said that Irish Stew, in the traditional sense, should be made with lamb or mutton, but my authority on all things Irish (aka my Dad) informs me that beef was more the staple in my Nanny’s kitchen. Each and every week a pot of stew was on the menu in the Walker house, and while I don’t have my Nan’s recipe, I do find myself emulating that consistency these past few (cold, very cold) months. The long-simmered broth in my version, rich in protein, gelatin, and minerals gives a luscious quality to the stew that warms you deep in your core. Like my Dad when he was small, I am yet to grow tired of eating it on the regular.
I know everyone goes gaga for being a little Irish on the 17th, but I am pretty lucky (at least by blood) to be it 365. Cozying up with this bowl of stew and some (non-green) beer seems like a pretty good celebration to me.