Layer half the potatoes, the lamb and the onions in a deep pan with the seasonings and cover with the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Shake the pan vigorously to break up the potatoes and then add the remaining potatoes. You may need to add more stock at this stage.
The cooking time will depend on the quality of the meat. Remove the lid for the last half hour to allow the sauce to reduce. Add the cream, if using, to the stew to heat just before serving.
‘On the following day the parson expressed his kindness in a more liberal way, and desir’d us to dine with him: we had but one dish for entertainment, and that so crammed with such varieties of God’s creatures that this dish seem’d to me to be the first chapter of Genesis: there was such beef, mutton, goat’s and kid’s flesh, bacon, roots, etc. … and this was one point of their husbandry, to boyle all together to save charges.’
Written in 1673, from Scenes from Irish Clerical Life by R. Wyse Jackson, published 1941.
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