Guinness Lamb Stew with Vegetables

4.5 stars based on 12 votes

guinness-lamb-stew

Admittedly, I don’t do much to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (other than trying to remember to dress my kids in something green) but I do love the food. To that end, I’ve got two Irish recipes for you this week. First up is this hearty lamb stew with vegetables. The lamb is seared and then braised in a flavorful Guinness-spiked broth until it almost falls apart, and the vegetables are added at just the right time so they don’t get mushy. If you like my Beef Stew with Carrots and Potatoes, you’ll love this recipe too.

Begin by selecting the right cut of meat, which is lamb shoulder. Locally, I found it at Whole Foods but it was whole so I had to ask the butcher to cut it up for me. Be sure not to buy leg of lamb — it’s best for roasting or grilling, and won’t get tender in a stew. Have your butcher trim as much of the excess fat off the meat as possible, or you can do it yourself when you get home. You can see some of the excess fat in the photo below where the yellow arrow is. Simply loosen those little flaps of fat with a knife and they pull right off.

Season the meat with salt and pepper and then brown it in batches in a large pot or Dutch oven.

Be sure the oil is very hot and don’t crowd the pan or the meat won’t sear properly. This step is a bit time consuming but important because it caramelizes the surface of the meat and adds wonderful depth of flavor to the stew.

Set the meat aside, then add the onions and garlic to the pot, along with a few tablespoons of water to loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook a few minutes more.

Add the lamb back to the pot and sprinkle it with flour, which will thicken the broth as it cooks.

Cook and stir for for a few minutes until the flour dissolves.

Add the braising liquid, which is simply beef broth, Guinness, water and herbs.

Bring the broth to a boil, then cover and simmer for about an hour and twenty minutes.

Add the carrots and potatoes and continue cooking until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked, about 30 minutes more. Be sure to stir it a few times so the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

As you can see below, the broth thickens up nicely as it continues to cook. Right before serving, stir in the frozen green peas. They’ll defrost and cook right in the stew.

You can definitely make this stew a day or two ahead, as the flavor only improves. Just note that the broth thickens up quite a bit in the fridge so you may need to add some water to thin it out.

Guinness Lamb Stew with Vegetables

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder, well-trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water, plus 2 tablespoons more for cooking onions and garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks on diagonal
  • 1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
  • 1 cup frozen green peas

Instructions

  1. Pat the lamb dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown the lamb in three batches, adding one more tablespoon of oil for each batch. Do not crowd the pan and let the meat develop a brown crust before turning with tongs. It should take 5-8 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned meat to large bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and 2 tablespoons of water to the pot. Cook until the onions are soft, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of pan, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and cook a few minutes more.
  4. Add the lamb with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the Guinness, beef broth, water, bay leaf, rosemary sprig and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat down to low and simmer for one hour and twenty minutes.
  6. Add the carrots and potatoes to the stew, then cover and continue simmering until the vegetables are cooked and the meat is very tender, 30-40 minutes. (Be sure to stir a few times to prevent vegetables from sticking to bottom.)
  7. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprig, and then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If serving right away, add the frozen peas and cook until the peas are warmed through. Otherwise, let the stew cool, then cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Reheat gently on the stovetop and add the peas right before serving.
  8. Note: This stew can be made a day or two ahead of time and reheated gently on the stovetop. Just be sure to add the peas right before serving so they stay fresh. Also, the broth will thicken in the fridge so it may be necessary to thin it with a bit of water (add it little by little).

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 789
  • Fat: 52g
  • Saturated fat: 20g
  • Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 42g
  • Sodium: 1242mg
  • Cholesterol: 150mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 1 stars

    I made this meal with beef because I couldn’t get lamb in my area. I was extremely disappointed with the taste. I want to try making it again when I can get lamb from another part of town, because of all the positive reviews. I thought with the garlic, onion, bay leaf and tomato paste I would have devoured every bite but that was NOT the case. I think it was the beer that did it in for me. I’m so disappointed and hesitant to try it a second time although I really want to.

    - Monique on August 17, 2015 Reply
  • What to do with leftover lamb. I did a lamb shoulder. Ideas would be welcome ..I have enough for 4 people!!!

    - Mary L on May 14, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I tried this recipe today. Loved it!

    - Dhanu on April 25, 2015 Reply
  • I’d like to oven cook this stew in an enameled, cast iron, dutch oven.
    What would you suggest for cooking time at 325 degrees F?
    When would you put the potatoes in? At the same 30 minute point?
    Thanks

    - Bob on April 23, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Bob, I think the cook time will be about the same; I’d stick to the times indicated in the recipe. Hope you enjoy it :)

      - Jenn on April 24, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    For St. Patrick’s Day I made your Guinness Lamb Stew with Vegetables and my family went wild! Your instructions were so easy my 20-year-old daughter started it while I was at work and my 17-year-old-son picked up when he got home and I came in as the relief pitcher to finish it off. Simply wonderful!

    - Shannon Thelen on March 27, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I made this Irish Stew on St. Patrick’s Day. I halved the recipe and it came out fine.

    - Renée Finlayson on March 23, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I substituted cauliflower for potatoes to cut back on the carb in-take. My guests and I thought the soup turned out really well. I will use additional salt and pepper next time.

    - EBru on March 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you thank you thank you a thousand times over for this recipe. Being married to a Boston Irish man, I am usually subjected to corned beef and cabbage every March. I can’t even stand the smell of that, let alone the taste. So I was so happy to see a recipe that gave me an alternative to make for St Paddy’s Day this year. My husband is not normally a fan of beef stew but when I told him this was a lamb stew, he got excited.

    Cooked it up on Sunday, following the recipe almost to a T. The lamb shoulder I bought at the supermarket turned out to be on the bone…is this normal? Your recipe didn’t mention bones. I couldn’t get that much meat off the bones so we ended up getting an 8 oz center cut lamb steak for the meat. But my husband had the genius idea to use the lamb bones to make a lamb broth to use in place of the beef broth. So we added the lamb bones, an onion and water to a pot and boiled up what turned out to be delicious lamb broth. We ended up needing 1 cup of the beef broth but I think this definitely added an extra bit of lamb richness to the stew.

    The stew came out brilliantly. Loved it and am actually making it for my 91-year-old Dad this weekend. He’s really excited about it because he’s always talked about how when his Mom was growing up in County Mayo Ireland, they’d have lamb on St Paddy’s Day because they didn’t have corned beef on the farm. I’m excited to give him a little taste of what his Mom had on the holiday.

    - Melissa Donnelly on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    planning a st. Patty’s day themed dinner on Saturday with friends and I think this looks absolutely delish! and my Irish husband wants me to make it for the dinner. do you think it is “dinner party worth”? what sides or apps would you recomend to go along with this?

    - karen on March 18, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Karen, I absolutely think it is dinner party worthy :) You could serve it with my Roasted Beet Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette, Cheddar Soda Bread and French Green Beans with Shallots. For dessert, the Irish Cream Tiramisu or Bailey Cheesecake Brownies would be good.

      - Jenn on March 18, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was our St. Patrick’s Day dinner and received rave reviews! This one is now a keeper in our house. We like mashed potatoes, so I swapped the potatoes in the recipe out with parsnips (not sure that’s very Irish). Thanks, Jenn!

    - Christy on March 18, 2015 Reply
  • Any hints on adapting this for a slow cooker? Thank you!

    - Angela on March 15, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Angela, It will work but you’d still need to go through all of the initial steps like searing the meat on the stovetop, so not sure it’s worth it.

      - Jenn on March 18, 2015 Reply
  • My question is can I use lamb neck for this recipe and can I use a slow cooker?

    Thanks

    - Kate on March 13, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Kate, Sorry for the late reply. I do think lamb neck will work but not sure it makes sense to use a slow cooker, as you’d still need to go through all of the initial steps, like searing the meat, on the stovetop.

      - Jenn on March 18, 2015 Reply
  • Hi, this recipe looks absolutely amazing….will be making this for a party. I was wondering if there’s anything I can use to substitute the beef broth with as there are some people who don’t eat beef. Thanks in advance!

    - M on March 7, 2015 Reply
    • Yes, you can use chicken broth.

      - Jenn on March 7, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I followed the “spirit” of this recipe but substituted with what I had on hand. First, I replaced the lamb for beef chuck. Second, instead of Guinness, I used Founder’s Breakfast Stout (“Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout”). All else was as described in the recipe (browned the meat, sprinkled with flour, added peas just before serving…) It turned out amazing. I made it one night and served it the next. Next time, I’ll make some soda bread to go with it. Five stars!

    - rodriyaya on March 2, 2015 Reply
  • Question – I have never made your lamb stew, but would like too make it ahead and freeze for a family St. Patrick’s Day party in six weeks. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    - Molly on January 31, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Molly, For the most part, the stew freezes beautifully — just omit the potatoes, as they do not freeze well. You can boil some potatoes separately when you defrost the stew and either add them in or serve them on the side. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on February 1, 2015 Reply
  • Jenn, I’m getting ready to make this delicious stew for the second time, doubling the recipe this time for guests. (I assume I double everything, including the liquids. Please correct me if that’s not right). I noticed Whole Foods has bags of multi-colored baby potatoes (so cute and pretty) and wonder if you think those would work well in this dish. Or do I need to stay with the white yukon type?

    - Jane W on January 15, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Jane, Yes, it’s fine to just double all of the ingredients. I think the multi-colored potatoes will work, although I’m not sure you’ll be able to appreciate them once they are in the stew. Hope everyone enjoys!

      - Jenn on January 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for my family over the holidays and it was oh so delicious! I didn’t have as much lamb as the recipe called for, but it was tasty nevertheless.

    - Samantha on January 10, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Stellar recipe! My husband says its the best stew he’s had in his whole life! (And he’s old.) I made it almost as written with the exceptions that I increased the Guinness to 2 Cups and decreased the broth to 2. And I doubled the amount of bay leaves and Rosemary. I would repeat this again the same way. Jenn, you’ve made me love cooking again!

    - Jane W on January 9, 2015 Reply
    • So glad it turned out, Jane!

      - Jenn on January 9, 2015 Reply
  • Do you recommend peeling the potatoes? It looks from the photos as if they’re peeled, but I like keeping vegetable skins on as much as possible as I was told a lot of nutrients are in the skins. Just wondering if it would work if I left them on or if the skins might peel off anyway in the cooking process and might ruin the texture somehow. Can’t wait to make this tonight!

    - Jane W on January 9, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Jane, This recipe calls for baby potatoes, which don’t need to be peeled. But even if you use regular potatoes, it’s fine if you want to leave on the skin :)

      - Jenn on January 9, 2015 Reply
      • Thanks, Jenn. Not quite sure I got baby ones. The tiny ones I saw at Whole Foods were in mulitcolors, so I opted for “baby-ish” ones that were white. I’ll try using them unpeeled and cutting into quarters since I think they’re slightly larger than the ones you specified.

        - Jane W on January 9, 2015 Reply
  • I can’t wait to try this out! Do you have any suggestions for a non-alcoholic substitution for the Guinness?

    - Christine on December 3, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Christine, You can replace the beer with more beef broth — it will still be delicious.

      - Jenn on December 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wow. My first time making lamb stew and it came out So amazing. I’m done looking for other recipes!

    - miss gala on August 22, 2014 Reply
  • I’m in the process of making the stew now but I’m not exactly following your recipe; I’m just here for ideas. I don’t get why you’re against a bone in leg. Rotisseried a leg for easter this past Sunday and I made a stock from the bone and leavings and it tastes phenomenal. I’d rather have lamb stock than beef stock as it adds something that beef stock can’t. Granted this is just a way for me to utilize the leftovers, but nothing beats good old bone marrow while preparing stock. Thank you!

    - Mr Smooth on April 22, 2014 Reply
  • Yum! Was better than my moms! Love the photos too.

    - Lisa Kroll on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • The Guinness and Lamb Stew was delicious. Reminded us of Ireland.

    - Kathleen French-Wilson on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • This is one of our favorites. I have been a follower of your blog post for two – three years now and love every recipe I’ve tried!

    - Melissa Lee on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Fantastic! I used a belgian style ale. Other than that, I followed the recipe to a T. The family could not stop raving about how delicious this was, and the lamb was incredibly tender. Thank you for a great recipe.

    - Leilani on February 10, 2013 Reply
  • Made this last night and served it tonight. Delish! Cleaned out the pot. The lamb was incredibly tender. Will make this again!

    - Leah on December 22, 2012 Reply
  • Yet another winner!! :)

    - Kelly W. on October 22, 2012 Reply
  • This was a great dish. Very rich tasting. Everyone came back for seconds.

    - Gayle Snyder on May 18, 2012 Reply
  • made this recipe “college edition”. So beef instead of lamb and pabst blue ribbon instead of guinness. Still amazing!

    - Arnold on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • This is great. I have made it several times.

    - Sarah on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • This looks great!!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on March 15, 2012 Reply
  • I somehow forgot the main ingredient. The Guinness. But I made the stew anyway and it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
    Made my day. So Miles gets the lost beer. What a sweet fact he has.

    - Niya Sisk on March 15, 2012 Reply
    • Too funny, Niya! I’m glad to know the recipe is very forgiving!

      - Jenn on March 15, 2012 Reply
  • Jen,

    How about a corn beef and cabbage recipe for Saturday?

    - Keith on March 14, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Keith! Make this – it’s so much better :)

      - Jenn on March 15, 2012 Reply
  • Is this something that can be adapted to be made in the slow cooker?

    - Daryl Ellen on March 14, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Daryl, I think a slow cooker would work fine.

      - Jenn on March 14, 2012 Reply
      • I think a slow cooker would work fine, Just be sure to brown the meat first.

        - Bonnie Collier on January 12, 2013 Reply
  • This looks wonderful! Great pics too, especially the one with Miles. Talk about self-restraint! My dogs would never be able to do that!

    - Marcia on March 14, 2012 Reply
  • I love Lamb, grew up on it. This looks like a wonderful stew & being that we are still having quite chilly weather I think I’ll make it soon.
    Thanks for sending it to us.

    - Gail Rush on March 14, 2012 Reply
  • We are cut from the same cloth…taking the pic with Miles is something I would totally do. Cant wait to make this saturday for the family! as always, thanks for sharing.

    - darlaBE on March 14, 2012 Reply
  • YUM YUM YUM!!! (I had the honor of tasting this, made by the chef herself, and it is TO DIE FOR!) with all of your great step by step photos, I should be able to replicate this at home. Love seeing Miles!!

    - Beth on March 14, 2012 Reply
  • This looks absolutely delicious! And what a perfect dish for St. Patty’s (although it feels more like spring/summer where I am, and making stew right now seems a bit odd).

    Thanks for sharing the photo of your dog! He looks so well behaved with that delicious bowl of stew sitting right next to him. I adore labs, such sweethearts.

    - Cynthia on March 14, 2012 Reply
    • Thanks Cynthia, He has his crazy moments (he’s a lab after all!) but most the time he’s an angel.

      - Jenn on March 14, 2012 Reply

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