Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Guinness Beef Stew for St. Patrick's Day
Even though I'm not Irish, I do love many of their customs - Irish coffee and Guinness Beef Stew being at the top of that list!
I first had Guinness Beef Stew in a little pub in Seattle, the Owl N Thistle Irish Pub and Restaurant. I liked it so much, I've been back a few times for more and have also made it at home several times.
Today, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd make it again and come up with a recipe, rather than just throwing stuff in a pot and adding beer, and I think it turned out pretty darn good! I read online about adding sugar, bittersweet chocolate, or prunes to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness Stout. I went with prunes today; next time I may try the chocolate, just to compare.
Guinness Beef Stew
1-1/2 to 2# beef stew
1 or 2 onions, finely diced
1 to 2 cups carrots, finely diced
2 to 4 T minced garlic
2 t thyme
1/2 t pepper
1 t kosher salt
1-1/2 cups Guinness Stout, divided
1 cup water
2 cans beef broth
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 T tomato paste
2 bay leaves
8 to 10 mushrooms
3/4 cups prunes, pitted and chopped
2 T flour
(I have written the directions for this recipe as it would be made using an Aga cooker. For those using a traditional stove, you can translate as follows: BP means a burner with high heat, SP means a burner with low to medium heat. SO means to simmer, either on top of your stove or in a 250 degree oven.)
I browned the beef in some olive oil on the BP quickly, just enough to brown at least one side and give it some color, then tossed that into a large pot.
Next I sauteed the onion and carrots, again on the BP, adding the garlic toward the end, and then added it to the stew. I diced the onions and carrots so that they were pretty small - I wanted them for flavor and bulk, but I wanted the beef and Guinness to be the stars of this stew.
I moved the sautee pan over to the SP, and poured in 1-1/4 cups of Guinness to deglaze any bits left behind, then added the thyme, pepper, and salt, and poured it all into the stew.
I poured the water, 2 cans of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste into the sautee pan and got it warm enough to dissolve the tomato paste, then added that to the stew. Finally I threw in some bay leaves and mushrooms. My bay leaves were very small so I put in 6, but I think aiming for around 2 large leaves is the goal. After wiping the mushrooms clean with a paper towel, half or quarter them depending on their size. The goal is to have them about the same size as the beef. I just love the flavor of mushrooms and beer together.
I put the stew pot on the BP to bring it to a boil, and then into the SO for about an hour. I then added the chopped prunes, put it back into the SO until I wanted to eat. The prunes pretty much cook away and you cannot even tell they're in there. An hour before I thought I'd be eating, I mixed the 2 T flour with the remaining 1/4 cup of Guinness Stout in a small pan on the SP, and once it was smooth, I added it to the stew to thicken. At this point, taste for S&P. I do not use much salt in most of my recipes, so you may want to up the salt for this, depending on your tastebuds. I put the pan back into the WO at this point as it had been in the SO a long time and I didn't want the beef to get overcooked.
I served this alongside potatoes. I could have put the potatoes into the stew, but my husband likes mashed, so I left them out so he could have it over mashed potatoes. I also think that putting the potatoes on the side is handy because if there are leftovers, the potatoes always get sort of mushy after refrigerating and reheating. This way you can make fresh potatoes the next day or whenever you're finishing off the stew.