TGIF! We have a big weekend planned with a double birthday party for Emmett (4) and Isla (2) and some cooking to take the pressure off the week ahead. I'm also hoping for some downtime to finish reading "Tread Softly on my Dreams" by Gretta Curran Browne. I'm enjoying this book so much. It is the life story of Robert Emmet and couldn't be more fascinating if it was fiction. I'm so glad that it's Part 1 of a Trilogy so that I can read them all.
Reading about Ireland and Irish history over the last week put me in the mood to cook something Irish. It doesn't get more Irish than Guinness. And I love beef stew. In fact, other than stuffing, the dish that I remember being most excited about when I was a kid was my mom’s beef stew. It was and still is the best. I’ve tried to make her version of beef stew a few times but I feel like I’m now old enough and wise enough to leave well enough alone. It never really tastes like hers. Even if it did, I probably wouldn’t perceive it that way. So these days I do different variations, knowing that I will feel more successful if I’m not trying to make it taste like a favorite food memory.
I’m surprised that I have never made beef stew with Guinness before. I thought it was delicious. Very hearty and savory with the Guinness giving it the subtle complexity in flavor that a makes a dish like this one shine. Paul asked me if it had bbq sauce in it which left me equal parts confused and insulted - though I’m sure he meant it in the best way since he LOVES bbq sauce (and managed to polish off quite a lot of this stew). Maybe it was the brown sugar? We ate this with some horseradish sauce made by mixing sour cream with scallions, prepared horseradish, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
If you aren't planning on making corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick's Day you might want to make this. Next time, if I'm feeling ambitious, I may try to adapt this recipe to make a beef and Guinness pie. Or hand pies. Yum.
Irish Beef & Guinness Stew
1 ½ lbs lean beef stew meat, cut into 1” cubes
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth, low salt
1 1/4 cup Guinness draft
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tsp minced fresh thyme
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1 lb carrots, cut into 1" pieces
2 Tbsp fresh minced parsley
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Remove beef from Dutch oven. Plate Dutch oven back on the stovetop over medium heat.
Add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add tomato paste and garlic and cook until rust-colored and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
Whisk in broth, ¾ cup Guinness, sugar, and thyme, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Stir in beef and return to simmer. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, for 60 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
Stir in potatoes and carrots and continue cooking until beef and vegetables are tender, about 90 minutes longer, stirring halfway through cooking. Stir in remaining ½ cup Guinness and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
The best thing about this dish is that it gets better with time, making it a great option for cooking on the weekend and eating later in the week.