Tender lamb cubes with earthy root vegetables in a savory stew flavored with herbs and (of course) stout... Instant Pot Irish Stew is a great option for St. Patrick's Day, but I'll bet the "luck of the Irish" you'll love it any day!
May your pockets be heavy, and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night.~~ Traditional Irish Blessing
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Instant Pots
It's still technically "winter" in many parts of the World, right? With the exception of 1 really hot day, even the Rio Grande Valley has been temperate.
In considering my March posting schedule, Irish stew seemed appropriate, but admittedly it's hard to get "in the mood" when it's 101 degrees outside.
It was a hot one... on February 23! That's when I decided to work on this recipe. Whew! Fortunately, that day was an anomaly. We're back in the seventies and eighties for the time being. So, I digress.
With the popularity of Instant Pot, I am finding loads of interest in pressure cooker recipes. First, for the record, I don't own one. I have been cooking with a pressure cooker since the "olden days" when I was a teenager and was fascinated by my mom's
dangerous electric model. 😝
I purchased a stove top model years ago when I had the luxury of cooking on gas. Lo and behold we moved to the Rio Grande Valley where gas lines are nearly non-existent. Do you detect sarcasm?
Cooking on an electric (albeit fancy) cooktop is a frightening experience when using a stove top pressure cooker. The lack of heat control means basically heating two burners - one to get the pot pressurized, and one to move it to quickly so that it doesn't explode. 😱
I love pressure cooker cooking - in most cases the results are superior to slow cooking. That will be a post for another day... I went shopping. I toyed with the idea of buying an Instant Pot because they're "hot" right now.
After doing some research, I settled on a Pressure Cooker XL. At the time, the difference in price was substantial, and the reviews for both were solid. I saved about 20%, and the features are very similar, and highly recommend both brands.
I have also purchased stove top pressure cookers for 2 of our 4 sons, and they do quite well with them. In any case, the days of exploding pressure cookers are behind us. All models have built-in safety features, and you can feel confident in using one. Trust me.
2021 UPDATE: I now own 2 Instant Pots - a 6 quart and a 3 quart (for making yogurt).
🍺 What Beer Should I Use?
Beer. Specifically stout. Disclaimer: I don't love Guinness Stout. I am a dark beer girl, and Guinness is a bit "one note" for my taste.
However, it works well in this recipe, and it is widely available. Feel free to substitute another stout, but stay away from a sweet stout like a milk or a chocolate stout. Do not worry about the alcohol. It will dissipate, leaving the flavor of the beer. Do not use a hoppy beer, as it will result in a bitter stew. Porter or another dark, malty beer should work just fine.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- olive oil
- lamb stew meat - If you have an aversion to lamb, you can use beef!
- thyme leaves
- bay leaves
- beer - A dark malty beer, Guiness Stout is perfect (see What Beer Should I Use above).
- beef broth or stock
- root vegetables - I always use parsnips, rutabagas, and carrots, but you can use your favorites.
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- flat leaf parsley
- Brown the lamb - I complete this Irish Stew in two steps. I want tender lamb, and tender vegetables. I do not want mushy vegetables. If you're using an electric appliance, select "sauté" setting on . If using a stove top model, heat over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, and when it is hot, add the cubed meat coated with flour (shake off excess!). Brown the meat, then add the onion and garlic. Stir an additional few minutes until they begin to soften. Sauté the meat mixture for 3-4 minutes to give it a chance to begin browning. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to prevent flour from accumulating and causing a "burn" error.
- Pressure cook the lamb - Add the thyme, bay, beer and broth or stock. Scrape the bottom of the pot again to loosen any browned bits and flour. Lock the lid, and cook 30 minutes. After 10 minutes, release pressure. After experimenting a few times, I found that cooking the meat in the liquid for 30 minutes, de-pressurizing, adding the root vegetables, and then cooking another 8 minutes is about right.
- Prep and cook the vegetables - After a quick pressure release (be careful!) open, and add the root vegetables. Lock and set for 8 minutes (or 8 minutes on the stove). Do a quick release. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with flat leaf parsley if desired.
💭 Tips and FAQ
Do I have to use lamb? Yuck! My preference for this stew is lamb, though beef is very tasty as well. A very traditional Irish stew uses mutton, and I've never found it, and certainly not cooked with it. If you're the adventuresome sort, and you find mutton, go for it!
What vegetables can I use? Potatoes are really the most common root vegetable in a traditional Irish stew. I like to mix it up. I use about 5 cups of cubed root vegetables, and include potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, and parsnips. These flavors work well together, and add complexity to the dish. The parsnips and carrots balance the hint of bitterness from the rutabaga and the beer. Rutabaga tastes (and looks) a bit like a turnip. Turnips would be a nice choice as well. If you adore sweet potatoes, they'll work... Limit your vegetables to roots, though.
I got a "burn" error! What do I do? Using a thickener like flour in a stew cooked under pressure can sometimes be problematic if it hangs out near the heating element on an electric pressure cooker. I've only had this happen once in all my years of cooking with them. It is important to combine the flour with the meat in a zip bag, shake off the excess, and then stir in the liquid scraping any bits off the bottom of the pot. If you get a "burn" warning, all is not lost. Release the pressure carefully, and stir it again, scraping the bottom of the pot. If the meat is close to tender, go ahead and add vegetables and proceed. I always want my flour browned, but if you are risk averse, you can make a slurry and add it at the end and bring the stew to a boil on sauté.
I'd like my stew thicker. What can I do? You can make a slurry. Allow enough time on sauté to bring the stew up to a boil as you add the slurry a bit at a time.
Why use a stove top pressure cooker? Even after purchasing a Pressure Cooker XL and 2 Instant Pots, and even though I don't have a gas stove anymore, I use my stove top pressure cooker as often as I do electric. It comes to pressure much quicker, so if time is of the essence, I use my stove top model. Keep in mind, though, you can't "set it and forget it."
Do you typically prepare a special meal for St. Patrick's Day? If so, what would that be? I love to hear your food stories!
If this Instant Pot stew recipe isn't quite what you had in mind, check out my Instant Pot Lamb Stew Provençal, or my Instant Pot Lamb Butternut Squash Stew - two of my most popular recipes. I think you will find it's hard to beat the tender results achieved in a relatively short time in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
🌡️ Useful Stuff
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- 1 pound lamb stew meat, boneless, cubed, (see notes)
- ½ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
- 1 can or bottle dark malty beer, Guiness Stout is perfect (see notes)
- 4 cups beef broth or stock
- 4-5 cups root vegetables, cubed, (see notes)
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- flat leaf parsley, chopped, to garnish
- In a zip bag, combine the lamb and the flour. Shake to combine thoroughly. Shake off the excess. I typically dump the contents of the zip bag into a bowl and use a spider to shake off the excess.
- If you're using an electric pressure cooker, select "sauté." If using a stove top model, heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the olive oil, and when it is hot, add the cubed meat. Brown the meat, then add the onion and garlic. Stir an additional few minutes until they begin to soften. Scrape the bottom of the pot to keep any flour from sticking to the bottom.
- Add the thyme, bay, beer and broth or stock. Again, scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen browned bits and flour.
- Lock the lid, and cook 30 minutes (electric and stove top). While the meat cooks, prep the vegetables
- Allow the cooker to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release of the remaining pressure.
- Open, and add the root vegetables. Lock and set for 8 minutes (or 8 minutes on the stove).
- Do a quick release. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with flat leaf parsley if desired.
We prefer lamb, but beef is a delicious option as well. I've used bone-in and boneless, and always go back to boneless to keep it simple.
As I mentioned in the post, I use a combination of root vegetables including potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, and parsnips. Use your favorites.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 485 calories; 30 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 18 g fat.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 18gCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 30g