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!
- 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
- Pat the lamb dry with paper towels, and season it with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is just smoking.
- Add half of the lamb and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer the lamb to a slow cooker, and repeat with an additional 1 tablespoon oil and the remaining lamb.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot.