This Slow Cooker Irish Stew recipe is easy to throw together in advance.
It makes for a warming, stick-to-your-ribs meal. Perfect for after a long hike or a day out adventuring.
My slow cooker addiction
My name’s Jane and I’m a slow-cooker-oholic. There. It is official!
It seems I now own three of these appliances, and yes each one DOES have its very own purpose.
The biggest slow cooker (6.5 litre) is for large joints, batch cooking and bone broth. The middle one (3.5 litre) is my original slow cooker and is used for ‘normal’ slow-cooked meals. And my newest addition to the family is this rinky-dink little 1.5 litre slow cooker, which is to keep in Myrtle the campervan.
Now obviously I’m only going to be able to use that teeny one when we are parked up on a campsite that has electric hookup. But as slow cooking takes ALL the hassle out of getting dinner on the table, it’ll make the perfect end to those long days out exploring.
Here’s a link to the tiny little slow cooker I bought. It’s the perfect size for 1-2 people, however if you are a family of around 4 I would recommend a 3.5 litre slow cooker. And if you are a large family, say 6 or more, you may be better off with a 6.5 litre.
So, let’s talk about an Irish Stew recipe. There must 27 bazillion different recipes out there for this. And as with all traditional recipes, every family will enjoy theirs a little bit differently.
Because I want to adapt mine so that it is effectively a one-pot camping recipe, to make my campervan version I have made this a slow cooker Irish stew recipe so that it is all cooked at once and I’ve kept it exceedingly simple.
Meat, veggies and a stock cube kinda simple.
Which Meat Goes in an Irish Stew Recipe?
From the research I’ve done on this, there is no definitive answer to this question. If a family could afford beef, then it would be beef.
If they were on a smaller income, then lamb or mutton would have been used. And if a family was strapped for cash, then no doubt rabbit or hare would have been the meat of choice, as these were freely available to all that could hunt.
My first choice for a slow cooker Irish stew would have been mutton.
Being from an older sheep (2 year plus), the meat is tougher, stronger in flavour, and fattier. I’ll admit this doesn’t sound terribly appetising, however this is the meat that a slow cooker can turn into pure edible heaven!
However my butcher doesn’t stock mutton as a rule, as he needs to buy the whole sheep, and sadly there is very little call for it these days.
So instead he recommended lamb neck, which was just perfect.
Lamb neck is a cheaper cut of meat and something I love about this simple stew is that it is great for keeping food budgets down, with just carrots, potatoes and onions as the other key ingredients.
If you wanted to keep costs really low, you could even replace the meat with lentils (and perhaps some beans – just make sure they are cooked beans as the slow cooker doesn’t always cook them through and add them later on in the recipe in this instance). The timings can be reduced again for a vegetarian version of this recipe.
How Long to Cook a Slow Cooker Irish Stew?
As a general rule of thumb, these are the timings I aim for when slow cooking meat;
- 3-4 on high
- 6-8 hours on low
As we’re using chopped meat, rather than a big joint, it may be ready a little sooner than these timings. So if you are particularly ravenous, it may be worth trying a little sooner.
And as all other slow cooker addicts will know, as the steam is contained within the slow cooker, you can safely leave your meal cooking for much longer than these time guides without fear of it burning, drying out or ruining your dinner.
Want some more Slow Cooker recipes? Feel free to browse my recipe anrchives and hopefully you’ll find some new family favourites in my archives! This Slow Cooker Pulled Lamb recipe is one of most popular recipes here on the blog.
And if you’re looking for more budget friendly, crowd-pleasing recipe, check out my Cowboy Stew recipe. It’s a firm favourite whether it’s cooked on the campfire, in the oven or in the slow cooker (and directions are given for each method).
- 400 g lamb or mutton, diced
- 8 new potates scrubbed clean
- 1 onion diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 1 stock cube
- 2 tsp cornflour (optional)
Tip all the ingredients into a slow cooker.
Pour in enough water to come halfway up the pot. You don;t need to cover all the ingredients.
Switch on to high and cook for 3-4 hours, or low and cook for 6-8 hours.
If you would like to thicken the gravy, in a glass or cup, stir a little cold water into the cornflour to make a smooth paste. Pour this into the slow cooker and stir well.
Pop the lid back on and leave for 5 minutes to thicken.
Stir again, and serve.
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