Friends Drift Inn Farm – Recipes
This recipe appeared in the Appalachian News Express and in other regional publications. Nick Jamerson, lead singer for Sundy Best, is a poet who reminds me that young and old share common bonds that make our mountain community something very special.
Celebrating ‘Tween Seasons With Hearty Fare
Luck of the Irish; Wisdom of the Scotch
The tween days of not quite winter and not quite spring can be maddening. I struggle with what to wear. I agonize over what to put on the table; light salads and spring greens or something more substantial?
Eating seasonally? Historically, this time of year was often the hardest for our Appalachian forbearers. There are just a few greens starting to poke from the ground. Thank goodness for root cellars, and vegetables that are “keepers.” A parsnip, carrots, potatoes and onions combined with stew meat, traditionally lamb, take away the chills and lifts the spirits.
Like many in Appalachia I claim Scotch-Irish roots; more Scotch than Irish. I look across the family genealogy charts; I let my mind drift to those who set my feet on this path. I see proud people, defiant people. I hear music and poetry; I see joy in the dance. I laugh thinking of old fiddles, of special clay jugs, and of artfully pieced quilts that all speak of love and life.
I lamented on Facebook that my recipe for Irish Stew was as old as the hills themselves. I respect my ancestors, but I want something more – as did they when they crossed the ocean to come to Kentucky. Chef Jon Ashton gave me a hand up.
Have you ever tried star anise in Irish Stew? Frankly, I was dubious but desperate. My deadline for the Appalachian News Express was nipping at my heels and even a sip of some “artisan” crafted spirits did nothing to inspire.
I tried the addition. I liked it! Charlie liked it. Star anise adds a layer of flavor, at once comforting and mysterious. This recipe is a “keeper.” On a chilly tween day, make you a pot of Irish Stew and some Irish Soda Bread too. Celebrate St. Patrick’s with respect to your elders, but with an eye to the days ahead. Lift a pint for me!
Jamerson’s Irish Stew with Star Anise
Inspired by Sundy Best’s Nick Jamerson and chef Jon Ashton of Parade Magazine
Soup Recipe, St. Patricks Day Recipe
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil (I like Stuartos of Lexington a cold-pressed variety)
- 2 lbs of lamb shoulder or beef stew meat cut into ½ inch pieces
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and minced I used Blue Moon Farms
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
- 4 – 5 cups of water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter, organic preferred
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced in thick rounds
- 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced in thick rounds
- 4 large boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered (I recommend a waxy potato like a red salad potatoes or Yukon Golds)
- 1 or 2 leeks coarsely chopped (1 ½ cups of mild sweet onions could be substituted but I encourage you to try leeks)
- salt and pepper to taste
- OPTIONAL 4 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley for garnish
1. In a heavy stock pot over medium heat, add oil and brown both sides of meat moving the pieces to keep from sticking about 5-6 minutes total.
2. Add salt and garlic sauté garlic about 1 minute. Careful do not burn!
3. Add Worcestershire Sauce, water, bay leaf and star anise. Bring up to a slow boil.
4. In a large cast iron skillet over low heat, melt butter and add carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and leek cooking about 20-25 minutes until vegetables have begun to get a golden carmelization.
5. Transfer vegetables to stock pot, cover and simmer the combination about 40 minutes until the meat is fork tender. Stir the mixture from time to time.
Total cook time 1 hour and 15 minutes
Notes and Observations:
If serving immediately, remove bay leaf and anise and ladle into bowls garnishing with parsley. Like most stews, this recipe gains flavor if made a day ahead, cooled partially, and stored covered in the refrigerator overnight. Serve hot with Irish Soda Bread.
Serves 4 -6
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