In a medium bowl, coat your cut lamb stew meat with flour (start with half the ¼ cup of flour) and season with salt and pepper. Bring the first 2 Tbsp portion of the olive oil to medium high heat in a large stock pot or heavy bottomed dish (like a dutch oven).
Brown the floured lamb meat on all sides (dust the browning meat with the remaining flour if you would like your stew broth to be thicker), then remove from the pot and set aside. *Do not worry about the browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pot, this is the base of a great stew!
Add the second portion of 2 Tbsp olive oil into the pot and sweat the onion until beginning to get translucent. Add remaining ingredients: chopped parsley, carrots, celery, broth, potatoes, bay leaves, and sprigs of thyme. Return the seared lamb to the pot, stir, cover, and bring to a boil.
Once a slow rolling boil is reached, reduce the heat to low and cook at a low simmer for approximately 90 minutes (timing will vary depending on your meat portion, the chunk size, etc.) or until your lamb meat is very tender when forked.
Remove bay leaves and thyme stems before serving.
Other vegetables that would be a wonderful addition: turnips, parsnips, fennel, leek, shallot, or peas.
Oven (Oven Braised) Instructions
*To make your Irish Lamb Stew in the oven (oven braised method), follow the directions in the recipe: use an oven safe dish (preferably a dutch oven), preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) while browning the lamb meat.
Once all of the ingredients have been combined, cover your lamb stew and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour, or until lamb meat is very tender when forked.
Slow Cooker & Crock Pot Instructions
**To make your Irish Lamb Stew in a slow cooker or crock pot, for best results follow the directions including coating the lamb with flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, and browned in a dutch oven (or frying pan). Transfer browned lamb stew meat to your 6 quart slow cooker, scraping as much of the 'fond' from the bottom of the pan along with the juices from cooking the meat.
Add the onion, potatoes, carrots, celery, chopped parsley, bay leaves, sprigs of fresh thyme, and beef broth. Cover and cook on low setting for eight hours.
To skip the pan searing, place flour coated lamb stew meat in the bottom of the slow cooker (OR sprinkle flour over the lamb meat after it has been placed into the slow cooker).
Instant Pot & Pressure Cooker Instructions
***To make your Irish Lamb Stew in an instant pot or pressure cooker, follow the directions for coating your lamb meat with flour and seasoning with salt and pepper. Set your instant pot to saute and brown the lamb stew meat, about 3-4 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the beef broth, stir and scrape any browned bits into the liquid. Add the remaining beef broth along with the chopped parsley, bay leaves, and sprigs of fresh thyme. Close and seal your instant pot, then cook on high for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients: onion, celery, carrot, and potatoes, then re-seal the instant pot and cook on high for 10 minutes. When the timer beeps, let your lamb stew rest 7-10 minutes.
If your lamb meat is not fork tender, return your stew to high pressure for an additional 5 minutes.
*This is one of those dishes that your choice of meat will impact your results! Usually stews are forgiving of what meats you choose, but in this case your stew meat chunks should be of good quality, preferably lamb shoulder (leg of lamb is best suited for roasting and grilling, but will be tough when used as lamb stew meat). Milk lamb or Grass fed lamb is also recommended.