Do a little research, and you’ll find there are no hard-and-fast rules for making a traditional Irish stew. Or, more accurately, there are a hundred different hard-and-fast rules as to what constitutes a traditional Irish stew. The one thing most agree on is the use of lamb or mutton, but from there the opinions diverge.

For this recipe, we’re going to throw out that one constant and replace it with venison, which was probably in the original recipe to begin with only to be replaced in modern times after sheep came to outnumber red deer on the Auld Sod.

As for the rest of the ingredients, I’ll say this is my authentic Irish stew, but like any recipe, it’s meant as a guide, not a rulebook. If your mom put carrots in her Irish stew, feel free to add them to yours. Same goes for flouring and/or browning the meat first, two steps I omit.



– 2 medium onions, sliced
– 2 lbs. venison, cut into chunks (red deer, ideally)
– 2 lbs. potatoes, washed and sliced thin
– Parsley, chopped
– Salt and pepper
– 2 cups water or venison stock to cover.

– Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

– In a large stockpot, layer the onion, meat and potatoes, in that order. Add parsley to pot, along with salt and pepper.

– Pour in liquid and bring to a boil on the stove. Cover tightly with foil and move to a hot oven. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

– Top with fresh parsley and serve with soda bread.