I know it's a day late, but I thought it would be fun to share our St. Patrick's Day dinner on the blog today! And really, beef stew isn't just for St. Patrick's day... it makes for a delicious and hearty meal any time. (I'm impressed with myself, too, for posting my second-ever beef recipe on the blog.) I've mentioned before that we don't really eat a lot of beef, and I'm terrible at cooking with it, but I thought it would be only fitting for St. Patrick's Day to try a traditional Irish recipe. I had some Guinness stew at an Irish pub near our house a few weeks ago, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. Lucky for me, I found a simple and easy recipe in my favorite Irish cookbook, and got to work.
I should probably tell you now that I don't drink alcohol, so I've never actually tried Guinness before and wasn't sure how it would taste in the stew. I have no idea how much of the flavor came from the Guinness, but what I can tell you is that it was rich and savory and delicious, and had great depth of flavor. I used the cast iron casserole dish that Geoff gave me for Christmas this year, and simmered the stew for about two and a half hours on the stove. The smell in our apartment was incredible! When it was finally ready to eat, we were all so hungry that we dove right in. I served it with some sour cream dolloped on top (a la MacCool's) and it made for a lovely contrast of flavors. This is definitely one to make again!
Guinness Beef Stew
2 pounds stew beef, trimmed and cut into one-inch cubes
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups Guinness stout
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into one-inch pieces
3 potatoes, peeled, and chopped into one-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cups water
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Toss the stew beef with the flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the skillet, then add the beef. Cook, stirring frequently, until the beef is mostly browned. Add the onions, garlic, salt, and tomato paste to the skillet and cook for a few minutes, until the onions are softened. Add the beef mixture to a large pot or casserole. Pour 1 cup of the Guinness into the frying pan and use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into the pot with the beef and add the remaining Guinness, carrots, potatoes, thyme and the water. Cover and simmer 2-3 hours, or until the beef is tender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm, sprinkled with fresh thyme, with a dollop of sour cream.
adapted from Irish Traditional Cooking