So we decided to channel that comfort for a dish suited for St. Patrick's Day. Taking inspiration from classic Irish ingredients and dishes, we came up with this over-the-top savory lamb stew with a rich broth made from beef stock, Guinness beer and fresh rosemary.
And dolloped over the top? Soda bread-style dumplings that are at once hearty and tender.
Like most stews, this one only improves with age. For a do-ahead option, prepare the stew as directed, but chill it after the pureeing and recombining steps. When ready to serve, return the stew to a simmer, then proceed with the dumpling portion of the recipe.
GUINNESS LAMB STEW WITH WALNUT IRISH SODA BREAD DUMPLINGS
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours
2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
12-ounce bottle Guinness beer
3 cups low-sodium beef stock
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium-high. Add the lamb and sear until well browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lamb to a plate. Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook until well browned and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
Add the onion, carrots, celery, potato, cumin and rosemary to the pot. Cook until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Return the lamb to the pot. Add the Guinness and broth. Cover and cook for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the lamb is tender and the vegetables are cooked through. Using tongs, transfer the chunks of lamb to the bowl with the mushrooms.
Working in batches if necessary, ladle the vegetables and broth into a blender and blend until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot, along with the lamb and mushrooms. Return to a low simmer.
In a medium bowl, stir together the walnuts, both flours, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and melted butter. Gently mix the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Using a spoon or a cookie/ice cream scoop, dollop the dough on top of the stew. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through.
Nutrition information per serving: 680 calories; 220 calories from fat (32 per cent of total calories); 25 g fat (9 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 155 mg cholesterol; 66 g carbohydrate; 9 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 46 g protein; 780 mg sodium.