This Lamb Stew with Mushrooms and Red Wine has a few tricks up its sleeve, making it scrumptiously rich and full of flavor, without the use of gluten, grains, or dairy. A medley of roasted root vegetables, a healthy pour of red wine, and a couple of secret ingredients like anchovy and tomato paste help turn up the volume on this mid-winter bowl that is far from drab.
Years ago I fell in love with a lamb stew recipe from cookbook author, Ivy Manning. I met Ivy at a food writer’s conference in Portland back in 2010. One of the things we have in common, aside from being cooks and food writers, is that we are both of Irish descent. (It often surprises people that my last name, Mahar, is a common Irish name, sometimes spelled Maher or Meagher.)
Anyway, Ivy’s recipe for Guinness Irish Stew became one of my March menu staples. I’ve made her recipe, overflowing with tender cubes of lamb and a medley of roasted root vegetables, nearly every year since she originally published it on her website. But last year, when I pulled the sheet out of my recipe binder, I had to pause. Beer and flour are two of the key ingredients. Both contain gluten.
Why Is It So Important To Eliminate Gluten?
When it comes to pursuing a thyroid-friendly diet, gluten is the #1 no-no. In fact, it is the only hard-and-fast recipe rule I have here on my blog. The gluten-thyroid connection is so strong that many experts recommend across-the-board gluten elimination for anyone with an autoimmune thyroid condition like Graves or Hashimoto’s.
[If you are wondering if you have Hashimoto’s (hint: you probably do), please read my post: Do I Have Hashimoto’s?]
Avoiding gluten is important because the molecular protein structure is nearly identical to that of the thyroid. Eating it can trick the immune system into triggering and worsening it’s attack on the thyroid gland. Gluten also increases intestinal permeability, which is linked to autoimmune disease. (Source: “The Gluten, Gut, and Thyroid Connection” by Dr. Amy Myers)
“The immune response to gluten can last up to 6 months each time you eat it. This explains why it is critical to eliminate gluten completely from your diet if you have AITD [Autoimmune Thyroid Disease]. There’s no “80/20” rule when it comes to gluten. Being “mostly” gluten-free isn’t going to cut it. If you’re gluten intolerant, you have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid.”
A Recipe is Reborn
As I scanned the list of ingredients in Ivy’s recipe, I was faced with a choice. I could either make an exception, preparing the recipe as-is and dealing with the aftermath. Or I could figure out a way to renovate this beloved family favorite in a way that I would be able to eat without guilt, compromise, or side effects.
The key flavor component–Guinness– would be difficult to replicate. I decided to try the age-old French technique of cooking with wine to replace complexity and depth of flavor, while also helping to tenderize the meat. Then there was the flour, used to impart a brown crust upon the cubes of lamb and thicken the rich-tasting broth. Replicating the original body and richness of the “gravy” was a must. Cornstarch was an easy option, but too many of us are intolerant or sensitive to corn. Then I remembered a little baggie of arrowroot powder in the pantry, which I keep on hand to make my favorite homemade deodorant. It works just like cornstarch. You make a slurry by mixing the arrowroot with water, then add to the broth and let it bubble to thicken. Easy! I decided to give the arrowroot a shot.
One of the unique things about Ivy’s recipe is that instead of simmering the vegetables in the broth, she roasts them. This achieves two things. First, it adds flavor and texture from the lightly-caramelized (as opposed to long-simmered) vegetables. Second, it maintains a liquid component of the stew that is pure meaty goodness.
Finally, a couple of my favorite flavor tricks: tomato paste for richness and acid, anchovy for umami undertones.
The result? Success! This is not a re-creation of Ivy’s delicious stew, but rather, a renovation. The new recipe is a decidedly different dish, built on the solid foundation of an old favorite. This was the second year I made this new version for my family, and we gobbled it up. It even passed the test of my toughest judge: my 5-year-old. My only regret is not making a bigger batch– it would freeze really well.
The best part is all the thyroid-loving-goodness in the finished dish. Let’s take a quick look:
- In addition to selenium, zinc, and iron, a 4 oz. portion of ground lamb provides 91% RDI of the essential amino acid Tyrosine, which the thyroid gland combines with iodine to make thyroid hormone.
- Just 1 cremini mushroom provides 7% DV of selenium, a nutrient important for the production and regulation of thyroid hormones.
- Bone broth is one of the most highly recommended foods for anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s. The collagen and glycine can help repair cell damage in the intestinal tract.
- 1 cup of carrots provides 428% DV of Vitamin A, which may be a key factor in preventing hypothyroidism
- A 1 cup serving of celery root contains 3 grams of fiber, which can aid in the relief of constipation often associated with hypothyroidism. It is low in calories and a good choice for weight loss and optimal health. Celery root is also a very good source of vitamin C, K, phosphorus and potassium, and a good source of B6, Magnesium, and Manganese.
So there you have it! An Irish-inspired lamb stew that put a twinkle in your eye, a skip in your step, and nourishment in your body and soul. Hope you enjoy this hypothyroid-friendly taste of Ireland as much as we do.
Wishing you the luck of the Irish, and the Best of Health,