Irish Lamb Stew with Rosemary and Sage

Non-Stop Comfort with No Regrets

My good friend Adella, a fellow foodie and recipe crafter, is exacting with her perfection of a dish.  She believes in absolute measurements in the kitchen (“What’s a dash? What’s a pinch”) and as such, she turns out flawless dishes time in and time out.  How could I not love her to pieces?  When I first started Adesina’s Cook-a-long, I immediately knew that I had to hit her up for a recipe.  Adella and I worked next to each other for 2 years, and in those fleeting moments of free time amidst our crazy schedules, she and I would hash about our successes (and occasional flops) in the kitchen.  She, like I, had a collection of “tried and true” go-to recipes that we kept for friends and family – we don’t have cookbook aspirations so much as a need to document the goodness found behind a particular set of ingredients and methods.  When the stars align in the kitchen, the recipe becomes a mini celebration of the success.  Needless to say, Adella has had her fair share of successes, and her collection continues to grow and grow.  Maybe it is time for her to launch a cookbook 🙂

Adella told me that she was going to comb through her recipes to find the perfect one to submit – weeks later, she sent me this Irish Lamb Stew which I then tucked away for St. Patrick’s Day.  Tender, marbled chunks of lamb make their home in a savory gravy enriched with onions, celery, rosemary and sage.  The nontraditional Irish stew ingredients of garlic and tomato give the dish body, and the dry red wine brings it all home.  Adella does a great job of giving chefs, new and old, the technical steps spelled out in a clear and logical way.  I’m sure she doesn’t struggle in the kitchen, like I do, converting dollops and swigs into quantitative measurements.  Point being, I don’t have anything to add really, other than a reminder to sear your lamb well (the crust will keep the cuts of lamb juicy) and give it ample time to tenderize in the oven.  No rushing this dish – in fact, it’s even better the next day.  It’s actually similar to the traditional bœuf bourguignon that isn’t even served until the second day.  Time begets majesty.

I can’t thank Adella enough for sharing this recipe with us, and I’m sure that you’ll want to do the same once you taste this stew.  Erin Go Bragh!

Irish Lamb Stew with Rosemary and Sage

Courtesy of Adella Brunner
½ c. olive oil
4 onions, ch.
2-4 c. celery, ch.
¼ c. ch. garlic
5 tbs. ch. fresh rosemary (1 tbs. reserved)
5 tbs. ch. fresh sage (1 tbs. reserved)
3-4 lb. Leg of Lamb, boned, trimmed, into 1½” cubes
⅓ c. flour
1 c. dry red wine
28oz. can diced tomatoes
4 carrots, sliced
4 c. (about) beef broth

Heat ¼ c. oil in heavy very large skillet over med-low heat. Add onions, celery, 4T. rosemary, 4T. sage, & the garlic.  Sauté till veggies are tender but not brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

Season lamb with salt & pepper. Place four in baggie & working in batches, shake lamb cubes coating with flour, but shake off excess. Heat remaining ¼ c. oil in Dutch oven & cook lamb till brown on all sides–about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to platter as they finish.

Add wine to Dutch oven & bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Return lamb to Dutch oven. Boil till liquid is reduced by ¾, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, with their juices and boil 10 minutes. Stir in carrots & onion mixture. Add enough broth to cover meat & vegetables.

Cover Dutch oven tightly. Cook at 350°  about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking till lamb is very tender and sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes more.

Stir remaining rosemary and sage into stew. Season with salt & pepper to taste.


  • Have butcher bone the lamb for you
  • Can be made one day ahead. Bring to simmer before serving.
  • Serve with potatoes. (Angela says: I made mine with wedges of yukon golds, but this would be equally delicious with mashed potatoes or parsley potatoes)