To me, winter is rather ominous and mysterious, like a ghost town, silent and still. It’s this time of the year when I feel like hibernating in front of a roaring fire, eating this earthy Irish stew while sipping on a glass of merlot.

This stew is a perfect winter companion, slow cooked until the onions and lamb become soft and sweet. The potatoes and carrots add a subtle rustic earthiness without badgering the other flavours. The lamb and vegetable broth willingly become infused with bay and thyme. It’s about as simple as that, and that’s how I think it should be.

Ingredients:

800g lamb neck/knuckle – bone in

1 tbsp. sunflower oil – for browning the meat

1 x packet diced bacon bits

5 brown onions – sliced

5 large carrots – thickly sliced

8 potatoes – cut into chunks

850 ml beef stock

4 bay leaves – roughly torn

1 tbsp. fresh thyme

1 tbsp. cracked black pepper

Salt to taste

5 spring onions – sliced

½ cup Italian parsley – roughly chopped

Recipe:

1 Preheat your oven to 160°C.

2 In a oven-proof pot, fry the bacon bits till just crispy and set aside.

3 Add some of the oil, turn up the heat and brown the lamb in batches.

4 Take out all the meat and set aside.

5 Add a little more oil and cook the onions and carrots until just soft – about 5 minutes.

6 Add the bay leaves, thyme and pepper.

7 Add the meat and bacon and mix.

8 Add the stock and bring to a simmer.

9 Add the potato chunks onto the top of the stew – almost like a lid over the meat and vegetables.

10 Cover and put into your oven for 2 hours.

11 When ready to eat, serve from the bottom up making sure you get some meat, vegetables, meaty broth and potatoes.