March is a seasonal transition month when thoughts turn to spring and a greener landscape. It's also when many celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the wearing of the green and enjoying foods that have their roots in the Emerald Isle. One popular dish is Irish Stew. Stobhach gaelach, as it's called in Gaelic, is traditionally made with lamb or mutton, the less tender meat from sheep over two years of age.
To some purists, true Irish stew only consists of lamb, onions and potatoes and no other root vegetables. Our version, though, uses beef, reflecting the hearty and flavorful dish's evolution and assimilation into American cuisine.
We've also added more color and nutritional value with carrots and parsnips. Parsnips are a member of the carrot family and they provide a slightly nutty and sweet quality to the mixture. And the pungency of fresh, chopped rosemary enhances the aroma as the stew simmers.
This satisfying stew is easy to prepare and it makes great leftovers. March weather can still be nippy, but you can chase away the chill with this nutritious meal in a bowl. Or enjoy it with a crusty piece of whole-wheat or multigrain bread and a green salad.
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and garlic. Cook, gently stirring until meat is evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
Add onion, carrots and parsnips. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 75 minutes or until meat is tender.
Stir in potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes. Add rosemary and leeks. Continue to simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender. Do not overcook to avoid potatoes falling apart.
Serve hot and garnish with parsley.
Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 1 1/4 cups
Per serving: 370 calories, 8 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 43 g carbohydrate,
32 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 427 mg sodium.