Yes, it's true, this does sound like an oxymoron but in celebration of World Vegetarian Day today, we want to help all Irish vegetarians enjoy a hearty Irish stew without any meat passing their lips.
Irish stews bring to mind lumps of steaming hot meat in a dark sauce with heaps of potatoes but this recipe offers a healthier, meat-free, vegetable-full alternative.
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced (or 2 medium onions, diced)
1 cup cup parsnips, sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup potatoes, sliced into chunks
1 cup turnips or rutabagas, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 cup celery, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups stout beer
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
A few sprigs each fresh rosemary, fresh thyme and fresh marjoram (or 1/4 teaspoon of each dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté leeks in the olive oil until translucent. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables with oil.
2. Add broth, stout, barley and parsley to pot. Tie together sprigs of fresh herbs with a piece of cooking string and add (or add dried herbs). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for an hour, or until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened, adding water if necessary. Remove herb bundle.
3. Season with salt and pepper, divide among plates and serve with bread.