The British Isles have some wonderful traditional dishes that any family can enjoy, especially in the cooler months when easy-to-make suppers offer hearty comfort food.
This should be a good, slow-cooked mutton (or lamb) stew with potatoes, onions and other root vegetables like carrot and parsnip. Add a handful of parsley, too. Boil then simmer the mutton for about an hour on its own first and skim off where there is too much fat. Then add the chopped veg and cook on a low heat for one to two hours – the longer the better so long as there’s still plenty of stock. You can brown the meat first if you want, but traditional stew would have boiled meat in.
Where some chicken casseroles use a little red or white wine as part of the stock, some people like to add Guinness or another Irish stout to an Irish beef stew.
Irish Potato Farls
Mash some boiled potato with butter and when it is smooth, add a little salt and about 50g plain flour to every two or three medium-sized potatoes used. This should allow you to knead and flatten out the mash a bit like dough. Roll it out to about the thickness of a slice of bread, then cut into pieces roughly the size of a medium slice of pizza. This is then fried or griddled for two or three minutes, to brown on each side. Serve warm with a light lunch or with bacon for breakfast.
This is comfort food at its best –an upgraded sidedish! Mash your potatoes, adding butter and a few splashes of single cream (or at least full-fat milk) to smooth it through. Add to this chopped, boiled cabbage and lightly cooked spring onions. When serving, the final indulgent touch is to add a small well of melting butter in the middle of each big dollop of colcannon. If you want to serve it alone as a tasty supper, mix in some chunks of good ham.