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Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

 

Guinness Stew may well be the mother of all stews since anything simmered for hours is going to be wonderfully tasty. Arguably the most deeply flavourful sauce of all stews, with a rich dark brown flavour, this is an Irish classic. The not-so-secret ingredient that goes into Stew that gives the sauce the deep flavour and colour is Guinness Stout (or 'The Black Stuff' as we often say in Ireland), which is known to be much richer than most beers (the thick foam that gathers on the top of a pint).  Irish Stout is widely exported nowadays and other equally good Irish Stouts such as Murphys Irish Stout or Beamish) can be substituted in this recipe . All Irish Stout is so dark it is almost black and it’s why the gravy of the stew is such a beautiful deep brown colour. Don't get confused between a Beef and Guinness Stew and Irish Stew (which is more famous and authentic, made with lamb and more like a soup when served, with NO guinness). In an Irish Stew, the potatoes are cooked alongside the meat in the pot.  With a Guinness stew, we like to serve the potatoes with the Stew, either baked or made into champ!

As with any stew, cheap cuts of meat are best and were traditionally the common meat for the ordinary and poor people of Ireland. Those cheap ingredients were important to farmer's wives who needed to feed large families. They also often needed to stretch meals to feed a kitchen full of additional farm hands with hearty appetites! Chuck steak is still commonly used - the muscly part of shoulder of beef, with lots of connective tissue for slow cooking). While chuck steak takes longer to cook, these cuts were actually more flavourful and the long, slow cooking times meant the meat was meltingly tender in the final dish. Don't forget to use big sized chunks beef (avoid cutting the chunks too small or they will cook too quickly and fall apart in the stew before it’s had enough time to develop the deep flavours).

This famous national dish is popular in every Irish family. Whether served as a midweek meal or made in a large casserole to feed an extended family at a special family gathering. Everyone has their own treasured recipe for Guinness Stew, different meat and vegetable combinations, the addition of Guinness or a bit of bovril, brown sugar ..... sometimes even wine!.  Cooking times will vary depending on the cast iron pot used.

We hope you get to make this traditional Irish Beef and Guinness stew this St Patrick’s Day, a delicious and nourishing way to feed the whole family! Your kitchen will soon be toasty and warm, as well as filled with appetising aromas. Time is all it needs...  You can also mop up any remaining Guinness sauce with Irish Soda Bread!

 

BEEF AND GUINNESS STEW                                                                     Serves 4

1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
900g / 2lb stewing beef
2 tbsp plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 streaky rashers (bacon), cubed
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced large
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
500ml (1 pint) Guinness Stout
1 Cup (250-300ml) beef stock
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
salt and black pepper
To serve: Baked Potato or Mashed Potato

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C / 320°F.
  2. Toss the beef in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a heavy based casserole.  Over a high heat, seal a quarter of the beef in oil and cook for 2 minutes each side. Transfer the meat to a dish and set aside. Repeat until the rest of the meat is browned, adding the rest of the oil to the pot when necessary. Wipe the pan clean.  Next gently start to fry the rashers.   After a minute add in the onions and celery.
  3. Return the meat to the casserole pot along with the sugar, tomato purée, the bay leaf and thyme. Season with some salt and pepper.
  4.  Add in the carrots. Add in the Guinness and just enough beef stock to cover the meat and vegetables. Bring the pot to the boil for 1 minute and cover with a lid. Transfer to the middle shelf of the oven for 1-2 hours or until the meat is tender.

If you liked this recipe, why not take a look at our ONLINE Ultimate Irish Cooking Course?  This at-your-own-pace on demand course is full of more traditional authentic Irish recipes like this one. Get a taste of the Emerald Isle at home!

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