Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beef and Guinness Stew

Last year April, the family went to Ireland for a week's vacation.  We rented a car (driving on the wrong side of the street - crazy!) and met some incredibly nice people throughout the country.  In fact, when flying home we asked the kids what was the best part of the trip was - thinking they'd say Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moor or Kilkenny.  They're answer was Frank.  The first waiter at the first restaurant we went to who literally made us feel like we had come home to dinner.

We found out Ireland was in the midst of a food revolution.  We had tremendous food at Kilkenny, Kilarney and Cork.  Although, everywhere we went, Alex wanted the Irish Stew.  Much of it was watery and had little vegetables, but sometimes it was full-bodied and hearty.  Once we got home, I was itching to take a stab at making it the right way.  This recipe provides the richness and I load up the vegetables.  Pair this with some bread or homemade croutons and it is a full meal.

2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsps all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsps vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp of water
1 1/2 Tbsps tomato paste
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut on a bias
3-4 celery stalks, washed and cut on a bias
1 large potato
2 cups beef broth
1 Guinness or other Irish stout
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons toasted and crushed peppercorns
2 fresh thyme sprigs or 2 tsps dried thyme
2-4 slices of bread (I use left over homemade bread)
2 Tbsps melted butter
Salt and pepper


1) Pat beef dry. Stir together flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add beef, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer to a plate. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown meat in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch, transferring to a bowl.

2) Add onion, garlic, and water to pot and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef with any juices accumulated in bowl, carrots, celery, potato, broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and thyme and bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on medium-low. Braise until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

3) While stew is cooking, cut bread into 1-inch cubes and pour melted butter on top.  Put into one layer in an oven proof pan.  Toast the bread on top of the stove for 3-4 minutes without turning.  Pop pan in broiler to toast the top.

4) Scoop soup into bowls and top with croutons.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds and looks wonderful,I can't wait to try it.