Irish Stew

2 pints lamb stock (beef stock can be substituted)

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2½ pounds lamb shoulder chops, cut into individual portions with the bone left in

1½ teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

10 medium carrots (about 1¼ pounds), cut into large chunks

12 pearl onions (or 2 large yellow onions, quartered), peeled but left whole

¼ cup diced white turnip

2 tablespoons pearl barley

10 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3¾ pounds), peeled and halved

1 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan, combine the stock and thyme. Warm on low while preparing remaining ingredients.

Trim fat from the meat, and place fat in a large skillet. Heat over medium-high until the fat melts.

About ½ pound at a time, add the lamb chops to the stockpot and brown on all sides. When the lamb chops have browned, use tongs to transfer them to an oven-proof stockpot with a lid. Repeat with remaining chops.

Season the lamb with salt and pepper.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the carrots, onions and turnip. Saute until just lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the stockpot. Add the barley.

Pour the warmed stock over the meat and vegetables, then cover the stockpot and place in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes and celery, then cover and return to the oven for another 45 minutes.

Remove the stockpot from the oven. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and vegetables from the pot. Transfer the liquid to a fat separator, let stand 5 minutes, than pour the stock back into the stockpot, discarding any fat that accumulates on the top.

Alternatively, if you don't have a fat separator, leave the liquid in the stockpot and let stand 5 minutes. Use a large spoon to skim away and discard as much fat as possible.

Return the meat and vegetables to the stockpot and, if needed, warm over medium heat. Stir in the parsley, adjust seasonings and serve.

Serves six.

Associated Press

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