Help! Making lamb stew without a crockpot?

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Assistant Cook
Sep 14, 2006
Hi! Im not the most seasoned chef, but i wanted to make an irish lamb stew. unfortunately, the recipe calls for the stew to be cooked in a crockpot, which i do not own. is their an alternative way to cook this? if i had a crockpot, it would only need to cook in a for about 2-3 hours. any suggestions? thanks!:)
Even without a crock pot (I've never used one!) it shouldn't take that long!

Here's an authentic Irish recipe that I posted a couple of years ago for St Patrick's Day.

In honour of St Patrick's Day, here's a really great, authentic recipe for Irish stew from Darina Allen's book, Ballymaloe Cooking School Cookbook.

  • 3 pounds lamb chops not less than 1-inch thick
  • 6 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 8-12 potatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chives, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cut the lamb chops in half and trim off some of the excess fat. Set the lamb aside. In a heavy bottomed pan, cook the fat trimmings to render liquid fat. Discard the remaining pieces.

Toss the lamb chops in the hot liquid fat and cook until slightly brown on both sides. Remove the lamb chops and reserve. Toss the chopped onions and carrots in the fat. Build the meat, carrots and onions up in layers in a casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Using the stock, deglaze the pan the meat was cooked in, and pour the liquid into the casserole dish. Peel the potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste, and lay them whole on top of the stew – they will steam as the stew cooks. Add the sprig of thyme, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover and put in the oven until stew is cooked, 1 to 2 hours.

When ready, pour the cooking liquid out of the stew. Transfer the meat and the vegetables to a clean pan. Skim the grease out of the cooking liquid, and pour the remaining cooking liquid over the stew. Sprinkle with the parsley and chives to garnish. Serve immediately.
It should be easy to modify.

1. Brown the meat in a little oil, then remove it from the pot.

2. Add the onions and cook until soft, then add your other veggies and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add any flour, salt, pepper, or seasonings called for in the recipe.

3. Return the meat to the pot and add your liquid, bring to boil. There should be enough liquid to just barely cover the meat.

4. Reduce heat to low simmer, cover, and cook for an hour or until meat and veggies are done. Add potatoes last 30 minutes. Check the salt and seasonings add more if needed.

Be sure to check the liquid from time to time -- this method may require more or less Nah your original crockpot recipe.
I've never owned a crockpot in my life, but I've many many, many stews, quite a lot of them based on lamb.

Just use a large saucepan with a good-fitting lid, and cook long and slow. I start my stews in the morning, let them cook until shortly before I go to bed that night, at which time I refrigerate the stew (I let it cool until it's no longer steaming before I put it in the fridge). I don't serve the stew until the following night, after another couple of hours of stewing. The flavour of a stew is ALWAYS best the day after it's cooked.

I rarely thicken a stew. With the long, slow cooking, you don't need to, especially if you cut some of the potato very small so that it turns to mush and absorbs some of the water.
Oh, my. Lamb CHOPS for lamb stew! I just cook my lamb stew (of stew meat/tougher cut) for 2-3 hours in a covered pot in the oven.
That recipe with lamb chops in the US would be $15-20 worth of lamb.
Lamb can be expensive here too, and the US meat prices quoted in some threads here often seem really cheap to us Europeans. The huge size of some of the roasts that are mentioned (beef or turkeys for instance) would feed a family of 4 for about a week in some cases!

I wonder if lamb is expensive relative to other meats simply because it is less popular in lots of US areas and this pushes the price up?
Ishbel, lamb is THE meat for most Australians, although pork, veal and beef are also popular. (I was in my 20s before I had tasted a beef steak - lamb was the standard meat, and therefore much cheaper.) But now, it is very expensive, along with all other meats. 'They' (whoever 'they' might be!) tell us it's because of a prolonged drought, and a shortage of supply. Well, there IS a drought, but the supermarkets are also adding on one huge profit-margin!

Chops are actually cheaper than roasts, per kilogram. When I make a lamb stew, I try to use the shanks. Lots of meat on them (the tenderest meat on the animal except for the neck), and relatively cheap at about $5 each. The meat falls off easily, the bones provide plenty of whatever it is that forms a good base for stock/gravy, and it's sweet meat. Two shanks in a stew could very easily feed a family of four with generous servings.

For an Irish stew, though, chops are the thing. The best chops are chump chops (which are cut off the top end of the leg roast), although shoulder chops are a good budget buy. I don't buy loin chops (cutlets) because they are mostly bone with a teensy bit of meat attached. Waste of money, IMHO.
Yes i always use chops for Irish stew, too.

Lamb is probably my favourite 'roast' meat - although I don't like lamb fat at all, so I tend to avoid the cheaper cuts.

I had family members over in Aug, attending the World Piping Championships held in Glasgow. A number of the band come from Goulbourne and they were telling me how bad the drought is there. I have happy memories of visting that small gown. It has a HUUUUUGE concrete merino sheep as a tourist attraction!
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I don't see any reason to use such a tender cut of meat for a stew. Would you use sirloin beef for a beef stew and cook it for 2 hours. Makes no sense. Long cooking is for tenderizing tougher cuts that are very flavorful but needing longer cooking.
Chops are considered traditional in most versions of Irish stew that I've ever eaten! Darina Allen's recipe only takes BETWEEN 1-2 hours, depending on how much lamb you use.
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