"One Cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well"
It's that time again! I love this time of year when I can highlight some good Irish recipes. This wonderfully simple, yet delicious stew is a great company meal for Saint Patrick's Day if corned beef isn't your thing. This was one of the choices at the recent wedding rehearsal dinner of my son, Curtis. It was by far the most popular choice.
Guinness gravy is so flavorful. Any time I cook savory dishes with beer, I always use a bit of mustard, as I find the combination irresistible, and it does not disappoint here. The beer contributes to tenderizing the beef and adds a depth of flavors with it's malty and tangy notes and the mustard adds a spicy sharpness that you can't quite put your finger on. My daughter claims it is the best stew she's ever had. As it is meant to be served over mashed potatoes or champ (mashed potatoes and scallions), there are no potatoes cooked in it. You can if you must, but I strongly suggest you try it the traditional way first!
Irish Beef and Guinness Stew
Adapted from a Guinness Recipe
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 1/2 cups Guinness stout
1 cup beef stock
4 large carrots, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
fresh parsley for garnish
Place beef cubes in a bowl and massage on 1 tablespoon of the oil. In another bowl, stir together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika. Dredge beef in this flour mixture until every side of all the beef pieces are coated and there is no loose flour in the bowl.
Heat remaining oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the beef in a single layer. If, due to the size of your pot, you need to do this in batches, take the time. The beef will steam instead of brown if you pile it all on top of itself. Browning it properly is the key to a good stew. After all the beef is browned, make sure it is all in the pot (if you did it in batches) and add the garlic and onions. Stir in for a minute or two (without letting the garlic brown). Add tomato paste, beer and beef broth and thyme. Add carrots, bay leaf, mustard and Worcestershire. Cover and cook for 3 1/2-4 hours at 325 degrees F until beef is tender. During second half of cooking check liquid level a couple times and add a little more beer or broth if too much has evaporated. If you like, you can make mashed potatoes ahead of time, place in a buttered casserole dish, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven with the stew during the last 20 minutes of it's cooking.
Right before serving, remove the bay leaf, taste the gravy and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Place a generous dollop of mashed potatoes or champ in a bowl, ladle stew over and sprinkle with parsley.
Brown beef as described above, then deglaze pan with beer and broth. Add all ingredients to your crock pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Towards end of cooking check liquid level. Add more if needed.