St. Patrick’s Week extra:  Irish beef stew with Guinness stout

Who, besides vegetarians, doesn’t like beef stew?  Irish beef stew flavored with Guinness stout is a classic, and a touch of Jameson’s Irish whiskey for deglazing won’t go amiss.  Very Gaelic indeed.  You’ll want plenty of freshly baked bread or warm rolls and lots of sweet Kerrygold butter to serve with this – people will want to mop up every last bit of the stout-flavored gravy.  It’ll all make for a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day dinner – or any other dinner, for that matter.  Erin go bragh!

Photo credit, left:  Photo courtesy of Sarah Stierch, CC BY 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons); below: photo courtesy of Aneil Lutchman, CC BY 2.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

 
Guinness Extra Stout and Guinness Draught (Aneil Luchtman via Wikiumedia Commons)

 
Irish beef stew with Guinness stout                                                               serves 4-6

 
3 lb. well-marbled boneless chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
6-8 large shallots or 4 small Vidalia/Maui sweet onions, trimmed, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp. Smart Balance original margarine + 1 tbsp. sweet unsalted Kerrygold butter
2 tbsp. crushed garlic
1 oz. Jameson’s Irish whiskey, to deglaze pan
2 heaping tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
8 large carrots, scrubbed, trimmed, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long chunks
3 lb. yellow Yukon Gold potatoes, well scrubbed – cut smaller ones in half, larger ones in thirds
1-quart (32 oz.) carton of Swanson’s unsalted beef stock
1 tsp. powdered gelatin
1-quart (32 oz.) carton of College Inn low-fat, reduced sodium beef broth
1 11-oz. bottle of Guinness Draught Stout
1 tsp. soft brown or raw sugar
½ tsp. anchovy paste from a tube
1 tsp. tomato paste from a tube
½ tsp. lower sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. Lea & Perrins reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. aged sherry vinegar
2 large bay leaves
6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp. ground savory
1 tsp. ground coriander
3 tbsp. minced fresh Italian (flat-leaved) parsley

1 12-inch skillet or 3-4 qt. sauté pan
6 qt. Dutch oven with lid or 6 qt. slow cooker

 

  1. Set up your slow cooker on the counter but out of your way; or, if you’re using a Dutch oven or similar enameled cast-iron casserole, set that up on a shut-off back burner of your stove or cooktop and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Put your frying pan or sauté pan on a front burner, set the heat to medium, and add olive oil to pan.  Salt and pepper the beef cubes to taste; brown them a generous handful at a time, without crowding the pan so that they have room to turn and cook evenly.  When the first batch is evenly browned all over, add it to the Dutch oven/casserole or the slow-cooker crock (for now, you can put that on a shut-off back burner for your convenience).  Repeat until all the beef is browned, then add butter, margarine and the shallots or sweet onions to the pan; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots or onions soften and begin to and caramelize.  Stir in the crushed garlic and cook for another minute or two.  Remove pan from heat and scrape the onions/shallots and garlic into the beef cubes, then add the paprika to the beef, onions and garlic and mix well with a long-handled spoon.
  1. Return frying pan to heat and deglaze with the whiskey, scraping up all the tasty bits; fill pan halfway with low-salt broth, sprinkle the gelatin over the top, and let it simmer.  While that warms up, add the carrots and onions to the beef mix, then add the bay leaves, thyme leaves (stripped from their stems), ground savory and coriander and the Guinness.  To the broth that’s warming up, add the anchovy paste, soy sauce, sherry vinegar, Worcestershire, tomato paste, and brown sugar; stir to dissolve and blend, then pour it over the beef mix.  Add more broth to the frying pan, warming it up and pouring it into the beef mix until all of the ingredients are covered with liquid; if you use all the broth, add the unsalted stock until everything is submerged in the Dutch oven/casserole/crock.  Bring the contents of the Dutch oven to a boil, then remove from heat (skip this if using a slow cooker).
  1. Sprinkle the minced parsley over the top, cover with lid, then put the casserole into the oven or the crock into the slow cooker.  Set the slow cooker for at least 6 hours; or set the oven timer for at least 4 hours.  You’ll be checking the oven stew at the 90-minute mark and adding more stock if needed; check again at the 3-hour mark (skip this if using a slow cooker).
  1. About an hour before the stew is done, remove one piece of potato from the stew and put it into a 2-cup measuring cup.  Pierce the potato with a fork or knife point; it should pierce easily.  If it’s still hard in the middle, pour in enough unsalted stock to cover the potato and zap it for 2-3 minutes in the microwave.  You want it cooked because you need to mash it well with a fork, then add enough stock to make about 1½ cups of gravy thickener.  Use a hand blender if you have one to purée the potato-stock mix (it should be lump free), then return it to the stew and mix well to distribute.  Cover stew and continue cooking as before.  When stew is ready, serve hot in deep bowls.

 

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