Because of James Beard I know Marion Cunningham.
Marion Cunningham wrote a new edition of the Fannie Farmer Cook Book – which would have been quite enough…..
She also wrote the Breakfast Book
Today we’ll pause to take a gander into the Supper Book
Because it’s hard to have Corn Beef for Two, since most Brisket is much larger the two servings, even if you want has the next day (and you do want hash, don’t you?) I was interested in looking around for something that would on the one hand reflect my Irish heritage and on the other hand not make we never want to it again, even a year later.
So, I looked up Irish Food in Alan Davidson’s Oxford Companion To Food and here is what he said:
Irish stew is a celebrated Irish dish, yet its composition is a matter of dispute. Purists maintain that the only acceptable and traditional ingredients are neck mutton chops or kid, potatoes, onions, and water. Others would add such items as carrots, turnips, and pearl barley; but the purists maintain that they spoil the true flavour of the dish. The ingredients are boiled and simmered slowly for up to two hours. Mutton was the dominant ingredient because the economic importance of sheep lay in their wool and milk produce and this ensured that only old or economically non-viable animals ended up in the cooking pot, where they needed hours of slow cooking. Irish stew is the product of a culinary tradition that relied almost exclusively on cooking over an open fire. It seems that Irish stew was recognized as early as about 1800…
—Davidson, Alan. (2006). Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (p. 409).
Marion Cunningham to the rescue.
Ireland’s Irish Stew
2 pounds lamb for stewing (I can sometimes find lamb with bone still in in the stew meat section – a little more fuss to eat, but so absolutely worth it. Eating off the bone is Kitchen Manners, not for Company or Public. Just so you know I was not raised by wolves.)
4 large onions, thickly sliced
8 medium potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced (these peels would be great for Potato Peel Broth…)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried, crumbled)
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Spread out the lamb, the sliced onions and the sliced potatoes. Salt and pepper them all well.
- Starting with the potato, layer potato/onion/lamb in a Dutch oven(the now infamous le cruset), sprinkling some of the thyme over each layer.
- Add water slowly so as not to disturb the layers.
- She has you put this in a 325° oven, which I’m sure I’ve done, but usually I do this on the stove, bringing it to a boil, and then keeping it at a simmer for 2 hours.
- Serve in bowls and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Now I remember – the oven has the Irish Soda Bread in it……..
Marion Cunningham. The Supper Book. Alfred A. Knopf. 1992. p.99.