There are almost as many recipes for Irish beef (and lamb) stew out there as there are people who eat it. There certainly are a wide variety of takes on this traditional dish, and it can be an interesting exercise to try multiple versions. I thought I'd throw my hat into that ring by sharing my go-to recipe for Beef & Guinness Stew with my fellow Wild Geese. Some would say the more traditional version would utilise lamb ... and this very well may be the case. I prefer the texture of beef to lamb, however, so this recipe opts for the beef. The Guinness Stout not only helps tenderize the beef, it also gives a rich malty flavor to this chunky, rustic stew. It is also flavoured with onions, carrots, garlic, and thyme -- although I hate onions with a passion and leave them out all-together. The stew may be made on the stove-top or oven, or even in a slow-cooker (crock pot).
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
2 pounds lean stewing beef
3 Tablespoons oil (olive or rapeseed would be best)
2 Tablespoons flour
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed and minced (optional)
2 Tablespoons tomato puree, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups Guinness (or other brand) stout beer (more if you want an extra malty flavour)
2 cups carrots, cut into chunks
Sprig of fresh thyme
Trim the beef of any fat or gristle, cut into cubes of two inches (5 cm) and toss them in a bowl with one tablespoon oil. Season the flour with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch or two of cayenne. Toss the meat in the mixture.
Heat the remaining oil in a wide frying pan over a high heat. Brown the meat on all sides thoroughly. Add the onions, garlic, and tomato puree to the pan, cover and cook gently for about five minutes.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole, and pour some of the Guinness beer into the frying pan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelised meat juices on the pan.
Pour onto the meat with the remaining Guinness; add the carrots and the thyme. Stir, taste, and add a little more salt and freshly ground black pepper if necessary.
Cover with the lid of the casserole and simmer very gently until the meat is tender -- three to four hours (more time yields more tender beef). The stew may be cooked on top of the stove or in a low oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (about 150 degrees Celsius). Taste and correct the seasoning. Scatter with a liberal helping of chopped parsley, and serve either over top of mashed potatoes, or with a side of boiled potatoes.
Do you have a beef (or lamb) and stout stew recipe you've tried and deem worthy of passing along to others? If so, feel free to paste it into a comment below. And, if you try my recipe, leave a comment below to let me know how it turns out.
Ryan, I think a Wild Geese Restaurant is the next logical step for you and Kelly, though I hope you could continue to contribute so mightily to our mission. ;-)