Beef n’ Guinness Stew
Although St. Patrick’s Day comes when spring is beginning to peek through the snow, the weather is still cold enough here in the northeast to enjoy a pot of stew. I’ve adapted one of my favorite slow-cooker stew recipes (actually a French boeuf en daube*) to use a strong Irish Stout beer in place of red wine. Grab a loaf of Irish Soda Bread to mop up all the delicious juices and get ready to celebrate the Emerald Isle.
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large sweet (Vidalia or Spanish) onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) bottle Irish Stout beer such as Guinness
2 cups beef broth
6 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 cup whole canned tomatoes, chopped
3 pounds Baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved (peeled, or unpeeled)
½ teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound button mushrooms or Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
Special equipment: slow cooker (optional)
Pat the beef dry with paper towels. In a bowl or large plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add the beef and toss until lightly coated. Shake off excess flour.
Heat the olive oil in a stew pot or slow cooker. Sauté the beef until browned on all sides. Remove meat and set aside.
Add the onions and cook on low heat until soft, stir in the garlic and cook another 2 minutes (don’t let the garlic brown or it will get bitter). Add the tomato paste and beer and heat to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot to incorporate all the delicious brown bits of flavor.
Put the meat back into the pot, add the broth, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, thyme and bay leaf. If you are using a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until beef is tender. If you are cooking the stew on the stove, bring the stew to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 3 hours (until beef is tender).
When stew is just about done, heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until they are golden, about 10 minutes. Stir the mushrooms in to the stew and discard the bay leaf.
Serve with a crusty piece of Irish Soda Bread and some delicious Harp Lager Beer or more Guinness!
They say St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time- a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic. And in the words of a favorite Irish Toast, “May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night!”
*To enjoy this same recipe in the French style of a boeuf en daube, simply replace the Irish Stout Beer with 1 cup of dry red wine. The results will be delicious!