Canada's eclectic culinary scene is rooted in its cultural diversity, yet every year on St. Patrick's Day everyone suddenly becomes Irish. Pubs overflow with patriots donning green, knocking back Irish stouts and belting out Celtic classics. But beyond the shamrock fever, March 17 also prompts an annual appreciation of Ireland's hearty comfort food. This Irish stew deviates a little from the traditional recipe, with its inclusion of root vegetables and the suggested option of using beef in place of the classic lamb, but it has many of the same elements, is easy to make, reheats well and can be ready in 90 minutes.
Ready time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
500 grams (1 pound) Yukon Gold or other baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, diced in 1-inch pieces
1 cup parsnips, diced in 1-inch pieces
1 cup Jerusalem artichokes, diced in 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500 grams (1 pound) ground lamb or beef
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 cups onions, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Add potatoes to a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon, drain and reserve.
Add carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes and boil for 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and reserve, seasoning both potatoes and vegetables with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a skillet over high heat, then add lamb or beef. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sauté until it loses its pinkness (about 3 minutes). Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Remove meat and garlic from skillet and add more oil if needed. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes or until edges are tinged with brown.
Add boiled carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes and toss together. Stir in thyme, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Return the meat to the pan and cook over medium heat until sauce is reduced and meat is cooked through (about 10 minutes). Season if needed.
Butter a casserole dish and add half of the potatoes. Spoon in meat mixture and top with remaining potatoes. Sprinkle cheese and parsley on top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is crusty and brown.