Slow-cooker Irish Lamb Stew, and low-cal too!

Lamb stew happens to be one of my personal favorite comfort foods. I grew up eating it: both my Grandma and Uncle Chris love to make leg of lamb one day and then a lamb stew the next.

I always made lamb stew in a big Dutch oven on the stove, until I tried this recipe for slow-cooker Irish Lamb Stew. Since then I've really fallen in love with my slow cooker.

When I come home from work and I have a rich hearty dinner waiting for me I am truly stoked. Plus my house smells amazing! And the machine is great at transforming cheap cuts of meat into delicious slow-cooker meals. (Two of my other favorites are Flemish Beef Stew, which includes beer, caraway seeds and mushrooms, and this Pork Braised with Salsa, which uses pork butt-a very inexpensive cut, that is oh-so-tender when it's slow-cooked-with green salsa and cumin. Both are truly simple recipes, but so darned delicious!) Check out our review of programmable slow cookers if you're interested in buying one.

Here's that lamb stew recipe. My favorite thing about this recipe is how simple it is and it's so healthy at just 266 calories per serving. There are just a few ingredients, and the technique is as plain as could be. You don't even have to brown the meat before it goes into the cooker.

Irish Lamb Stew

Lamb stew is Irish penicillin: a rich stew full of potatoes, leeks and carrots that'll cure whatever ails you. In traditional fashion, nothing here is browned first, just all stewed together. To keep it healthy make sure to trim the lamb of any visible fat before you cook it. To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 3/4 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large leeks, white part only, halved, washed (see Tip, below) and thinly sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Combine lamb, potatoes, leeks, carrots, celery, broth, thyme, salt and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker; stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on low until the lamb is fork-tender, about 8 hours. Stir in parsley before serving.

Makes 8 servings, generous 1 cup each.

Per serving: 266 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 65 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrate; 23 g protein; 4 g fiber; 427 mg sodium; 803 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (139% daily value), Vitamin C (26% dv), Potassium (23% dv), Folate & Iron (15% dv).

Tip: To clean leeks, trim and discard green tops and white roots. Split leeks lengthwise and place in plenty of water. Swish the leeks in the water to release any sand or soil. Drain. Repeat until no grit remains.

By Jessie Price

EatingWell food editor Jessie Price's professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.

Related Links from EatingWell: