Nurturing our roots and relishing life

Irish Stew

Irish Stew

As St. Patrick’s Day draws near and my Irish Stew simmers away on the stove, I am reminded once again of my proud Irish roots.  There is a fierce passion in being able to claim this heritage.  Such a rich culture, such a rich heritage.

The Great Famine (also known as the Potato Famine) in Ireland in the 1840’s forced my grandmother’s grandfather and his family to abandon their homeland and make their way to London, where his parents were forced to give him up to an orphanage because they could not afford to keep him.  Grandpa Tom ran the streets of London as a boy until he decided to change his fortunes and boarded a ship bound for Canada at the age of 16.  But Grandpa Tom never forgot who he was or where he came from. Throughout his very full 92 years of life, he always carried a little potato in the hip pocket of his trousers.

Upon his arrival in Canada, Grandpa Tom worked as an indentured farm labourer for a family in Upper Canada (today’s Ontario).  During this time, he met young Grandma Ellen, the daughter of a fellow Irish immigrant mother who’s father had passed away a few years earlier.  The couple married and went on to have 12 children.

In the 1890’s, the large family gathered their belongings and set out for Manitoba where they homesteaded on one of the largest land grants in the area.  They built their resplendent two-story farmhouse themselves, complete with stained glass windows and generator shipped in from out east.  Their home was known far and wide and was a common stopping place for weary travelers.  It was not unusual for there to be two or three sittings to a meal at the Pumphill Farm.  Everyone was always welcome and noone ever went away the least bit hungry.  During the summers, Grandpa Tom and Grandma Ellen would host lawn parties for neighbours near and far, complete with Grandma Ellen’s signature mint julep.  Grandma Ellen was also the resident midwife for the area and helped many a new mother and babe in their first days.

The stories of my great, great grandparents never cease to inspire and amaze me, and make me so proud to call myself an Irish-Canadian.  When I reflect on their tales of trial and hardship, fortitude and faith, strength and perseverance, it inspires me to continue to persevere on my own journey of healing, fraught with it’s own trials and and challenges requiring my own faith, stength, and perseverance to keep going, to keep searching, to keep healing!  And so, coming up to this St. Patrick’s Day, I get to celebrate, once again, my wonderful, colourful Celtic heritage, this time in a most AIP-friendly way.  I’m sure Grandma Ellen would approve of this recipe!


Irish Stew

Category: entree

Cuisine: Irish

Yield: 6


  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 small-medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs cubed lamb
  • 2 cups bone broth (from lamb bones if you have it!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon gray sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 medium-large onion chopped into bite-sized pieces (or equivalent in pearl onions if you have them)
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 2 cups turnips, chopped into 1" pieces*
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch*
  • Parsley to garnish


  1. Saute onion and garlic in coconut oil over medium heat until done and starting to brown.
  2. Combine lamb, broth, thyme, oregano, salt, and bay leaves in a soup pot.  Add onion, garlic, and coconut oil to soup pot.  Turn to med-high heat to bring to a simmer and simmer for 1 hour until lamb is cooked and nice and tender.
  3. Add onion, carrots, and turnips and continue to simmer until veggies are tender (about 20 minutes).
  4. Mix arrowroot starch with a little bit of cold water and stir until smooth.  Stir into stew to thicken and remove from heat.
  5. Garnish with parsley and enjoy as your imagination takes you away to the rolling green hills of Éire...

*To make this recipe SCD compliant, replace the turnips with rutabagas and skip the arrowroot starch.  If your stew is too thin without the starch, you can reduce the amount of bone broth you use or allow the stew to simmer uncovered until the liquid level has reduced sufficiently.

This recipe was shared on Real Food Recipe Roundup, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Mouthwatering Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdayTasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Phoenix Helix AIP Recipe RoundtableGluten Free Wednesdays, The Wednesday RoundupFull Plate Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Awesome Life Friday, Foodie Friday, Foodie Fridays and DIY, From the Farm Blog HopNatural Family FridayFoodie Friends FridayWeekend Potluck, Corn Free Everyday, and Weekend Recipe Link!

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