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Sunday, March 23, 2014

[Irish Beef Stew] Hearty Irish beef stew enhanced by Guinness

Who said that March 20th was the first day of spring? Well it could be... somewhere else, but not in Ottawa, for sure. Today must be the fifth day of Spring according to the norm, but it's now -11 degrees Celsius, or 12 degrees Fahrenheit in Ottawa. So please don't tell me that spring is right here since I wouldn't have an idea what you are talking about !! :( We had a 4-inch snow just yesterday.) I was wondering until the day before yesterday, whether I should switch from winter tires to the snow tires. And the weather gave me the answer: "not yet!!."  So, until spring comes, I continue making hearty stew to keep myself warm in this never-ending winter. 

I made Irish beef stew which is one of my favourite winter stews. I usually favour the recipes that use wine, spirit or beer since I find these alcohols actually enhance the flavour of the food. And this Irish beef stew is cooked with Guinness, my favourite stout! I love Guinness' rich heaviness and its pleasantly bitter taste. When it's added to the stew, it makes a big difference. I had my first bowl of Irish stew at the Annual Byward Market Stew Cook-off  in 2010. I loved the Irish beef stew presented by an Irish pub. I'm not sure whether the stew was cooked with Irish stout or not, but it was really good. Since any of Irish people could give me a recipe, i found my own, and i am happy with the recipe which I'm going to share with you.

Here goes the recipe for the Irish Beef Stew enhanced with Irish stout
(adapted from Simply Recipes)

1 1/4 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3 teaspoons of salt
1/4 cup olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 cup of Guinness extra stout
1 cup of dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
(reduced from 3 lbs of potatoes used in the original recipe)
1 large onion, chopped 
2 carrots
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


 1.Cut beef into dices.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed or cast iron pot over medium-high heat. 

3.Pat dry the beef with paper towels and  season with salt and pepper. Add the beef in batches to the heated pot. Do not crowd the pan to prevent the meat from being steamed and producing water/liquid. Cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over and brown on another side.

4.  Add garlic to the pot with the beef and sauté until fragrant for 1-2 minutes. 

5. Add the beef  broth water, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Stir to mix well. Bring to boil.

Meanwhile, dice potatoes and carrots. 

6. Add the onions and carrots. Alternatively, you can sauté onion and carrots over melted butter as instructed in the original recipe, but usually, I just add vegetables to the pot. Believe me, either method is as good as the other.

7. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, then cover and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

8. Add black pepper and two teaspoons of salt. Sprinkle parsley. Discard the bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off  excess fat, if there's any. 

9. Transfer stew to serving bowl. 

10. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Like any other stew, it's very easy to make.
It's a great hearty meal to please everybody at the table on a cold winter day.

Irish Beef Stew


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