What could be more perfect for St. Patrick’s Day than a bowl of Irish Stew? Irish stew is good any day, but made with Guinness Beer it is just right for St. Patrick’s Day. Guiness, a stout beer, was first made in Dublin, Ireland in 1778. It is as popular today as it was then, but on a broader scale of course. Guinness in the stew adds a depth to the flavor. You can’t detect a beer flavor, just a solid, rich flavor that is a bit unique to typical stew. Irish stew is traditionally heavy on the beef, and a bit light on the vegetables. I have turned that around to suit my style. This recipe is heavy on the vegetables with a moderate amount of beef, and tons of gravy waiting for a crunchy piece of bread, or a layer of egg-rich noodles.
1 pound, lean, beef stew meat, or beef chuck cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
2 cloves garlic
3 stalks celery
3 large carrots
5 medium yukon-gold potatoes
1 bottle Guinness bottled draught beer (11.2 ounces)
1 1/4 cup beef broth, divided
1/2 cup half & half 2 tablespoons corn starch or flour
1 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Cut potatoes, carrots, and celery into uniform 1-inch chunks. Set aside. Heat oil and butter in large pan on medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and cook 5 minutes. Onions will be soft but not browned. Remove onions to a large Dutch oven or covered roasting pan. In same pan as you cooked the onions add the beef chunks. Be sure pan is hot enough so the beef sizzles when it touches the pan. Add the pepper, but not the salt.* Stir and cook until browned on all sides. The beef will continue to cook in the stew. Place beef in pan with the onions. Lower heat for the meat pan to medium and deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the Guiness beer. When it foams remove from heat and stir to remove all the bits from browning the meat. Add deglazing liquid to dutch oven. Add minced garlic, chopped celery, and carrot. Add potatoes and the salt. Stir. Add remaining beer and beef broth. Stir well. Add thyme, tomato paste, and parsley. Stir. Cover and place stew in the over for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. After 45 minutes heat half & half until just warm. Whisk in cornstarch or flour until blended.Cornstarch will make your stew thicken better than flour, and will add an enticing gloss to your gravy. Stir into the stew and return to the over for 15 minutes, uncovered. Serve with crunchy bread or egg-noodles.
*Do not salt meat you are wanting to brown. Salt draws out the moisture from the meat and retards the browning by increasing the liquid in the pan. Salt after the meat is browned. If grilling or broiling, you can salt prior or during cooking.