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I grew up in the Midwest, so winters for me are automatically associated with warm, hearty stews that have been simmering all day.
Of course, I don’t always have the opportunity to get dinner prepped before the day gets busy, so I often turn to my Instant Pot to get a hearty dinner on the table.
Meals like this slow everything down, even when they are made quickly.
I know some of you are tired of the Instant Pot trend, but I say this “trend” is as much here to stay as the slow cooker was when it was introduced.
Irish lamb stew is very similar to classic beef stew, simply using lamb instead of beef. I like cooking with lamb meat for a nice change from beef, especially because it is a much more sustainable meat in terms of production.
The flavor is often much milder than you might expect, depending on the cut and preparation. All in all, it’s a great meat to add to your dinner rotation.
As with any delicious stew, leftovers will be even better the next day. And your lunch will already be done. Win all around.
How to make Irish lamb stew in the Instant Pot
First, chop your bacon, then add it to the Instant Pot and set to Saute mode. Cook until the fat is rendered and it is starting to crisp, stirring often to prevent sticking. This will take about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Add the lamb and toss to coat.
Add the lamb to the Instant Pot and sear meat on all sides.
Pour in 1 cup of broth and scrape up the stuck bits at the bottom of the pot. This is called fond and adds a lot of flavor, so don’t skip this step!
Add the rest of the broth (and beer or wine if using), bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure it is set to Seal, not Venting. Switch it from Saute to Manual High Pressure and set the timer for 30 minutes.
While it cooks, chop your vegetables. I use onion, potatoes, and carrots. You can peel the potatoes and onions if you like, or just make sure they are clean.
Once the time is up, manually vent the pressure and open the lid. Add the veggies and reseal the lid, setting the timer for 10 minutes this time.
After 10 minutes, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the rest of the way.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!
tips for instant pot irish lamb stew
If you can’t find lamb stew meat at your grocery store, ask your butcher to cut a lamb shoulder cut for you.
Cut your vegetables approximately the same size for even cooking, otherwise you could end up with mushy ingredients.
Don’t forget to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot after sautéeing the lamb pieces. This makes the broth’s flavor richer, as well as thickening it just slightly.
Remove the bay leaves and stems from the rosemary and thyme before eating. If you prefer, you can use a bit of tied cheesecloth or empty teabag to create a bouquet garni that you can remove easily after cooking.
Serve the stew with biscuits, rolls, or crusty bread.
If you prefer to use your slow cooker, follow the same method for browning in a sauté pan, then transfer to the slow cooker.
Add all the ingredients and cook on Low for 8 hours.
You can also make it on the stove in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Simmer over low heat with the cover on until ready to eat.
Looking for other ingredients to add?
Mushrooms are not a traditional ingredient, but are great for added umami, especially if you decide to not add bacon.
I also tend to add garlic to my stews. Simply add diced garlic to the sauteed onions and saute for an extra minute, until fragrant, then proceed with the recipe as usual.
If you’d like some color and extra vegetables, add frozen peas during the last minutes of cooking.
For added flavor, replace some of the beef broth with beer or red wine. An Irish stout like Guinness is perfect here!
If you prefer a thicker broth in your stew, make a cornstarch slurry.
Remove ¼ cup of broth from the pot and add it to a small bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch until it is completely dissolved.
Then, stir the slurry back into the stew and let it simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
You’ll love this flavorful lamb stew. Make it for dinner tonight!
Instant Pot Irish Lamb Stew
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound lamb stew meat
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup sliced button mushrooms, optional
- 1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
- 1 pound small red or yellow potatoes, quartered
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place chopped bacon into Instant Pot and set to Sauté. Cook until bacon is browned and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.
- Place the lamb in a bowl. In another bowl, mix together salt, pepper, and flour, and pour over the lamb, tossing to coat. Add the lamb to the bacon and brown on all sides.
- Pour in 1 cup of the beef broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the broth, and the bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme.
- Close the Instant Pot and set to Seal. Cook on Manual High Pressure for 30 minutes. When the timer beeps, do a manual release of pressure.
- Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes. Close the pot again, re-seal, and cook on Manual High Pressure for 10 minutes. When the timer beeps, let rest for 10 minutes, then do a manual release of pressure.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve.