Slow-Cooker Lamb Stew

There is nothing quite like this stew on a quiet and chilly night. The key is to let the stew simmer just long enough so the ingredients blend into a lovely medley of flavors. If they are overcooked, the meat and vegetables become indistinguishable. The fine line makes for a great excuse to keep taste-testing the stew!

      Ingredients

      • 4 pounds boneless lamb, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1.5 inch chunks
      • salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 3 teaspoons vegetable Oil
      • 2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
      • 4 cups chicken broth
      • ounce bottle Guinness Draught beer
      • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
      • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon fresh
      • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
      • 2 bay leaves
      • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
      • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

      Instructions

      1. Pat the lamb dry with paper towels, and season it with salt and pepper to taste.
      2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is just smoking.
      3. Add half of the lamb and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.
      4. Transfer the lamb to a slow cooker, and repeat with an additional 1 tablespoon oil and the remaining lamb.
      5. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the onions, and 1/4 teaspoons salt to the skillet, and cook until the onions are lightly browned about 5 minutes.
      6. Add the broth, 1 1/4 cups of the beer, and the brown sugar, thyme, chocolate, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
      7. Add the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on the low setting until the meat is tender, 6 to 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 to 5 hours).
      8. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and the remaining 1/4 cup beer until smooth; then stir the mixture into the stew. Cook, covered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
      9. Remove and discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot.