Tender lamb cubes with earthy root vegetables in a savory stew flavored with herbs and (of course) stout… Pressure Cooker 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
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. I highly recommend either brand.
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.
Featured Ingredient in Pressure Cooker Irish Stew:
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 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.
I complete this Pressure Cooker Irish Stew in two steps. I want tender meat, and tender vegetables. I do not want mushy vegetables. 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 10 minutes is about right. I do a 10 minute natural pressure release and then release the remaining pressure both times.
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!
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.
Do you typically prepare a special meal for St. Patrick’s Day? If so, what would that be? I’d love to hear your food stories!
If this pressure cooker recipe isn’t quite what you had in mind, check out my Pressure Cooker Lamb Stew Provençal, or my Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs – 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 pressure cooker.
Recommended Kitchen and Pantry Items:
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound lamb stew meat, boneless, cubed, (see notes)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon 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
- If you're using an electric appliance, select "stew" setting on "well" for 30 minutes. 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.
- Add the flour. Stir the flour into the meat mixture for 3-4 minutes to give it a chance to begin browning.
- Add the thyme, bay, beer and broth or stock.
- Lock the lid, and cook 30 minutes. 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 10 minutes (or 10 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.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485 Total Fat: 18g Carbohydrates: 44g Protein: 30g