Guinness Irish Stew
I've been browsing through a lot of recipes over the past two weeks, between Pi Day (March 14) and St. Patrick's Day. I found a terrific recipe for classic Shepherd's Pie in one of the Irish cookbooks we received for our wedding. But lo and behold, I stumbled upon another recipe on the next page for Guinness Irish stew. I had never even heard of it before! How had I missed such a perfect combination of flavors, all in one bowl?
I always buy our meat in bulk quantity. "Family" or "club packs" as they're sometimes called. It just makes monetary sense! Quickly I ran to the freezer and luckily had a sirloin steak I'd been saving... for just such an occasion! I typically use chuck roast for our beef stew, but this recipe called for sirloin. What a treat! I started to thaw it under a stream of running water and began chopping the veggies left over from corn beef & cabbage night as well as the shepherds pie. I was on a mission!
- 2 pounds sirloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
- salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup All-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cups canola oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 cups Guinness Stout
- 5 carrots, peeled & cut into 2" chunks
- 4 parsnips, peeled & cut into 2" chunks
- 1 turnip, peeled and cut into eighths
- 8 to 12 baby red potatoes, left whole
Toss the beef in a Ziploc bag with the flour and salt and pepper. Make sure every piece is evenly coated. In a large nonstick pan or stock pot, brown the beef in small batches and set aside. Do not cook through. Once the meat has been browned, The pan should be covered in brown bits (fond). That is the base for the incredible gravy!
Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan and reduce heat to low. Add the onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Stir frequently until they are softened and translucent. Move the onions from the pan to the plate where the beef is resting. Back to the pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, chopped veggies and sprinkle with salt. I like to stir them around for about five minutes or so just until the outsides start to get a little bit of brown color. This helps release a lot of the flavor and it adds so much more to the stew.
Next, deglaze the pan by pouring the beer in and (with a wooden spoon), scrape the brown fond off the bottom. Only pour in about a half cup at a time, it will bubble up and start to release from the bottom. The mixture will thicken slightly and you’ll know it’s time to add more liquid. Once you’ve added all the beer and the bottom of the pan is smooth, pour in the beef stock. Add all the meat and onions back to the pan as well, and add the potatoes. Bring the temperature up to a low boil for about five minutes before returning to low heat. Cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. (Alternately, you can transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook it on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 5 to 6 hours if you want to leave the house.)
The stew will be ready when all of the vegetables have cooked through, and you can pierce them easily with a fork. Season with salt and pepper if needed and ladle into bowls.