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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

A Lamb Stew For The Irish In You

Originally from Los Angeles, David Bonilla came to Hawaii to manage million-dollar restaurants. He fell in love with no pollution, sunny skies and the friendly people he meets every day. In his estimation, Hawaii’s two favorite pastimes are eating and surfing.

Taking care of thousands of restaurant guests, David needed a stress reliever and took up singing. He especially loves to do Neil Diamond songs, as his mother was a big fan. When he saw The Jazz Singer in 1980, he decided he wanted to sing like Diamond. Over the years, David developed a raspy tone, and has learned to hit the notes on the songs. He says: “Neil was never called a brilliant singer – as he admits, most of his music has cracks and raspy tones – but it works!”

David has played various events and a St. Patrick’s festival. His goal is to introduce young people to Diamond’s music and give fans a little tribute and some stories of the songs he will perform.

If you frequent Romano’s Macaroni Grill, ask for David, a manager there, and you might just hear “Neil Diamond” sing you a birthday song or a serenade of your choice.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in about A.D. 385 in Wales. Patrick was appointed as bishop to Ireland to convert the native pagans to Christianity. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country, and set up schools and churches that would aid him in his conversion of the country to Christianity. His mission in Ireland lasted 30 years.

He died March 17 in A.D. 461, and that day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since. The St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick’s Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston, as Boston was the port of entry for many Irish immigrants who fled Europe in search of a better life.

This is a version of the famous meat and potato stew that was a staple of the Boston Irish. It’s a readers’ favorite that has been requested many times. It is good served with some brown bread and a sliced cucumber salad with vinaigrette dressing.

TOP OF THE MORNING TO YOU IRISH STEW

* 3/4 pound lean lamb, cut into cubes
* 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
* 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 bay leaf
* 4 medium potatoes, cut into small pieces
* 1 large onion, cut into wedges
* 4 medium carrots, cut into thick slices
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried basil
* 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
* 1/2 cup cold beer (may also use water)
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour

In nonstick skillet, lightly brown lamb cubes. In large saucepan, combine browned lamb, broth, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes.

Add potatoes, carrots, onion, thyme, basil, rosemary and parsley. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes more, or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Remove bay leaf. Stir beer and flour together until combined and slowly stir into stew. Cook and stir until thickened. Cook for about two minutes more and stir.

Makes four servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 330
Fat: 8 grams
Sodium: 110 milligrams
Cholesterol: 65 milligram

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