Deliciously Easy Guinness Stew

I remember the first time I had Guinness Stew.  I was at an Irish bar in Northern Virginia with my cousin and I immediately fell in love with it.  I took every opportunity I could get to go back to this bar to get it.  The Guinness tenderized the meat so much that it was falling apart while bursting with flavor, all at the same time.  And the best part of it all was that this thick and rich stew was then served atop of creamy mashed potatoes.  It was unreal.  When I moved back to Massachusetts and into Boston, I assumed that Guinness Stew would be available on every street corner and was saddened to learn that it was relatively hard to find.  I hadn't tackled my own creation because I just didn't think that my creation could compare to that very first bowl I had.

And then today happened.

After yesterday's kitchen calamity,  I found my self staring down that giant bottle of Guinness with one eyebrow raised, ready to accept the challenge.   In response, that tough bottle was just glaring back at me, mocking me and daring me to attempt another creation.  There was one of those Western showdown songs dramatically playing in the background (or at least that's how I remember it).  Letting my pride get the better of me, I wanted to show that bottle of Guinness a thing or two and pledged to spend the afternoon creating the perfect Guinness Stew.  And I can confidently say, as I sit here with a delicious steaming bowl of tender beef in a gravy-like pool of caramely Stout, I have whipped that bottle into submission and came up with some killer results.  And the best part of it all?  It was so easy to make.  To simplify it even more you can do some prep work the night before, throw it all into a crock pot and come home to a delicious diner that's just waiting for you.  Fair warning, if you do make your own batch of Guinness Stew, you will never forget it.  You might even say that its good enough to make your "Irish eyes smile" or something like that.  Not necessarily Irish?  That's okay.  I'm not really either.

Guinness Stew
*Special note: I made about 3 quarts of soup (I know this because that is how big my pot is)  adjust this recipe by how much you want to make.

- About 1 lb steak (I used a chuck steak which is cut from near the shoulder.  This is an ideal cut for stew but really any tougher meat will do.  You really want to make sure that you are working with a nice tough meat so that it can stand up to hours of simmering.)
- One bottle of Guinness beer, at room temperature
- One 32 oz box of chicken stock
- 1 carton of mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 6 or 7 carrots, peeled and cut
- 2 big spoonfuls of flour
- 2 big spoonfuls of tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- About 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 onion
- A small pat of butter
- Vegetable oil, enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pot
- Mashed potatoes (leftover of freshly made)
- Salt and Pepper to taste

Start by thinly chopping the onions and adding them to a pan with a small pat of butter.  Sprinkle in some salt to help the onions sweat.  Stir to combine.  Fry the onions until they become translucent and start to brown.  Set them aside.  While the onions are cooking, trim the steak of any big pieces of fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. (A trick I learned from my Mom, stick the steak in the freezer for about 10 minutes before attempting to cut.  It will make things a lot easier!)  Toss the flour with the beef cubes and sprinkle in some salt and pepper until well combined.  Heat the vegetable oil on medium high heat until the oil gets very hot.  Add the beef and let it cook on one side for a couple of minutes.  Don't stir the beef too often or the meat won't have time to brown.  Once the beef develops a nice golden color, deglaze the pan with the beef stock and slowly add in the Guinness.  Stir to combine.  Add the mushrooms, onions, thyme, tomato paste and bay leaf.  Place the cover on the pot and let the stew simmer for about 3 hours on low heat before you give it a taste and adjust the seasonings.  Because the beer needs to cook down and the flavors need to combine, if you taste the stew too soon, you may end up over seasoning it.  After three hours, taste and adjust seasonings.  Add the carrots and simmer for another 1-2 hours.  The beauty of this stew is that you can just let it go and not have to worry much about it.  You can also simplify things by doing the prep work the night before and then sticking it all in a crock pot before you leave for work.  Set it on low and you will be welcomed by fresh Guinness Stew when you gt home from work.

To serve, place a spoonful of mashed potatoes into a bowl.  Ladle the stew over the potatoes and serve immediately, alongside a frosty pint of Guinness, of course.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Now I definitely know what I'm making for my family on St. Paddy's Day!! Thanks Kate - you are the best!!

What's Hot From The Small Boston Kitchen