If the thought of stringy corned beef with soggy cabbage sobers up your St. Patrick’s Day festivities, try making a Guinness Stew instead. I happen to love the dark rich beer paired with soft, tender beef and blanketed in a savory broth. My favorite way to serve Guinness Stew is over a bowl of buttered noodles with freshly chopped herbs — and a dollop of spicy mustard — how’s that for flavorful? Makes me want a pint of beer right now!
Braising meat in beer is fairly common in European countries. In Germany, fuhrmannsbraten is a flavorful pot roast made with a rich amber lager, while the French have carbonnade, made from caramelized onions, fresh herbs and tangy mustard. Not to be outdone, the Italians do beef alla birra, with thick chunks of smoky bacon, smooth chicken stock and plenty of fresh thyme.
However, it is time for St. Patrick’s Day, and true to the spirit of the holiday, I will be cooking with Irish ingredients while raising a few pints as well (but no green beer for me, yick!) Last year, I posted an authentic Irish recipe: boxty (potato pancakes) while reminiscing about my favorite kebab stand in Dublin. Although I debated about another Irish recipe (colcannon) I am going with the dish that makes my stomach feels most welcome — a bowl of Guinness Stew has a way of kissing your tastebuds while bringing pure satisfaction to your soul. My recipe aims to incorporate the best of all the above listed countries and their dishes, while allowing Guinness to be the star of the show. It is indeed, comfort food for the Irish, but especially for those of us who love and appreciate that wonderful, magical country.
Sláinte chuig na fir, agus go mairfidh na mná go deo!
3 pounds chuck roast, cut into large cubes (2 inches)
6-8 slices thick bacon, diced
1 onion, quartered and separated into large pieces
2 cups baby carrots
4-6 red potatoes (if large, cut in half)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
14.9 fluid ounces Guinness
3 cups chicken stock
6 fresh thyme stalks, leaves removed from stem
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen peas
Oil for browning meat
Salt and Pepper to taste
Egg noodles, buttered and covered with freshly chopped herbs like parsley, dill and chives
Stone ground mustard
Freshly baked crusty bread
- In a large cast iron enamel or heavy stockpot, add a little bit of oil and brown the meat on all sides. Work in batches if needed. Remove meat from heat and set aside.
- Add the bacon and allow fat to render. When bacon begins to crisp, add the onions. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the Guinness and the chicken stock. Return the beef to the pot and add the thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for one hour.
- Stir the stew and add the potatoes. Continue to simmer, covered, for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add the carrots and cook for 15 minutes more.
- Stir in the peas and cook for 5 minutes. Serve hot with noodles or fresh bread and plenty of cold Guinness.