How to Cook Mulligan Stew 

When I learned how to cook Mulligan stew, I alot about its history. It is made from whatever ingredients are available. “What you can beg, borrow or steal!” It could be leftover Irish appetizers, lamb stew or even Irish cookies! It is really a way to use up all your leftovers in your refrigerator or freezer. For this reason, there is no set recipe for it and every time it is prepared it should be different.

When I learned how to make Mulligan stew, I could trace it back to the Irishmen. This term is also used to describe many different things in other parts of the world. I have heard that our hobos along the railroads use to make this stew by stealing from the houses along the tracks.

My dad use to tell me if he didn’t feed the hobos they would steal what they wanted. He would sit them down at the picnic table and feed them each time they came around.

When I learned how to make Mulligan stew, I also learned stories which go along with it. Women would gather together available foods in the kitchen early on wash day. After throwing everything in a large pot, they would begin their wash. Because of the cold damp weather and the fact that they spent much of their washday outside in the cold, this pot of hot hearty stew was a welcome break to warm up.

Here are some stew ingredients you might find leftover in your refrigerator to throw into a large pot to make the stew.


  • Hamburger
  • Roast beef
  • Steak
  • Pork chops
  • Sausage
  • Roast pork
  • Ham pieces
  • Any fats or bones
  • Leftover gravies/ meat stock
  • Vegetables: Corn, peas, green beans, carrots, all beans, tomatoes

Even if you don’t have leftover garlic, onions or celery, I would always add them also for flavor. You could also add any leftover rice or macaroni.

Start the stew by adding the meat into a big heavy pot and cover with water. Start throwing in all the vegetables that you have available. Then add the rice or pasta. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer. After a few minutes, taste the mixture for flavor. Season with salt and pepper. Then add the herbs and spices that you like. Remember no set rules! Just go for your favorite flavor. Everyone is different!


How to Make Mulligan Stew or Irish Stew with LambHow to Make Mulligan Stew or Irish Stew with Lamb

This Irish stew recipe made by one family might also be called a mulligan recipe.

  • 2 ½ Pounds chunks lamb
  • 8 Potatoes
  • 4 Turnips
  • 4 Small onions
  • 1 Pint green peas
  • 1 Pint lima beans
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 Quart cold water
  • Salt/ pepper

Chop vegetables and lamb; layer in pot alternately with meat and vegetables.

Add quart of cold water; cover stew pot and stew slowly until most of liquid is absorbed about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Stir and Serve.


Even though this beef stew recipe is not slow cooked but is a presser cooker beef stew recipe, it can also be a Mulligan recipe.

  • 2 Tablespoon fat
  • 2 Pounds chunked beef
  • ¼ Pound lean salt pork in ½ inch cubes
  • 1 Can (16 ounces) tomatoes
  • 1 Large chopped onion
  • 1 Large chopped carrot
  • 1 Celery stalk
  • 1 Clove minced garlic
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon thyme
  • 3 Parsley sprigs
  • 12 Stuffed olives in halves
  • 1 Cup sliced mushrooms

Brown meat and salt pork in hot fat; add remaining ingredients.

Cover and bring cooker to 15 pounds of pressure as manufacturer directs; cook 20 minutes.

Remove cooker from heat and reduce pressure quickly as manufacturer directs before removing cover.

Discard parsley and bay leaves; serve over hot cooked noodles.


This Italian version of Mulligan stew is deliciously flavored with fennel and garlic.

  • ¼ Cup olive oil (Divided)
  • 2 ½ Pound lamb shoulder (Cut in 2 inch cubes)
  • 1 Cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 Teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ Cup white wine
  • 6 Small fennel bulbs (OR cut large ones)
  • 5 Cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Heat ½ CUP of the oil in large skillet; brown lamb on all sides.
Transfer the lamb to a large Dutch oven.
Add the onion to the skillet; sauté until tender about 5 minutes.
Add onions to the Dutch oven; sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Add the wine to the skillet; bring to a boil stirring with wooden spoon.
NOTE: Scrape bottom with spoon to loosen bits.
Pour wine into Dutch oven; bring mixture in Dutch oven to a simmer.
Cover and place in oven; cook 1 hour.
Heat remaining ¼ CUP of oil in skillet until hot; brown fennel on all sides.
Transfer fennel to a plate; sauté garlic in skillet until fragrant.
Pour the vinegar in the skillet; bring to a boil stirring to loosen bits.
Set off heat and add fennel to skillet.
AFTER 1 HOUR pour the fennel garlic mixture into Dutch oven.
Return to oven; cook until fork tender about 1 ½ hours longer.
NOTE: Total cooking should take 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Serves 6.