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The perfect family recipe for chilly days

Nothing is better on a chilly day than a bowl of hearty stew. Probably the only thing what is even better - having a little bit of free time because the stew cooks itself to perfection in the slow cooker...

Slow cooker lamb stew - family recipe


Winter family recipe

It is only the end of November, but we have every reason to think about warming drinks and hearty food: it become frosty in the last couple of days. So, it's a perfect time for a lovely stew. 

Like this Slow Cooker Lamb Stew with Guinness. The lamb is seared and braised with vegetables in Guinness until it almost falls apart and releases its goodness into the lovely, rich sauce. I just cannot imagine any better option as a winter family meal.

This lamb stew recipe is one of my favourites, it is so rich that we do not need to add anything else to it. But if you want to add some carb, just offer fresh sourdough bread or these easy pumpkin scones to it: 

Pumpkin scones recipe

I used my slow cooker here, but you can make it in a big casserole dish too, see instruction below the recipe. 

However, I highly recommend to use a slow cooker for stews, it just give you a lot of free time and there are so many lovely family recipes where you can use it. I already wrote about the benefits of using a slow cooker here, and listed my favourite slow cooker recipes in the same post. 

Related: Healthy slow cooker recipes for busy families

Browning the meat takes a little bit of time, but this step gives a better taste to the stew, so do not skip it.

You can use beer too instead of Guinness - or just replace it with vegetable or lamb stock, - but it worth to give a try with Guinness as it gives a deeper flavour to the stew. Do not worry about the alcohol in the Guinness - during the long cooking process all the alcohol will evaporate, so it it perfectly safe for children too.

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Slow cooker lamb stew with Guinness

Total time: 8 hours on low setting

Serves: 8-10

Slow cooker lamb stew - family recipe


  • 1.2 kg lamb shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 onions
  • 1 leek
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 celery stick
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 can (440ml) Guinness
  • 700ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small spring fresh rosemary
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 big baking potato
  • 4 big carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen green beans

​Step 1

Peel and cut the carrots, parsnip and potato into 1-inch cubes. They go straight into the slow cooker. Peel and dice the onions, chop finely the celery stick and peel the garlic cloves.

​Step 2

Cut the lamb meat into 1-inch cubes. In a big frying pan heat 2 tbsp sunflower oil and brown the meat in 2-3 batches. The meat goes into the slow cooker on the top of the vegetables.

​Step 3

Pour the remaining 1 tbsp oil into the frying pan, add the onions, celery and crush in the garlic and fry them for 5 minutes until they softened. They go on top of the lamb meat.

​Step 4

Sprinkle the flour onto the onion, add the herbs, the tomato paste, the seasoning, the water and the Guinness and cook 8 hours on low setting. Add the peas and green beans to the stew 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

I used my slow cooker here, but you can make it easily on the hob in a big (really big) casserole dish. Just follow the recipe below until step 3, they place the onions and meat into the casserole dish adding all the herbs, seasoning, tomato paste and all the liquids and cook about 1 hour before adding the carrots, parsnip and potato. Cook a further 2 hours before adding the peas and green beans. It is done when the peas/beans are cooked.

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