04 April 2012

Guinness Beef Stew

Hi, trusted readers! I have (perhaps foolishly) decided to start writing again. After having some people tell me things like the definition of a "hiatus" and others hint that I should "start food blogging again, or else" (among other thinly-veiled threats), I guess the time has come.

St. Patrick's Day happened fairly recently and we all know what that means: green beer and plenty of it. I didn't actually have any green beer myself, but I did make a shepherd's pie (with ground lamb, of course) and "Irish car bomb" cupcakes for dessert. I had some leftover Guinness from the cupcake making and decided to make one of my favorite meals: a proper stew with lots and lots of alcohol in it. I serve this one with garlic-rubbed toast and a horseradish sour cream. It freezes extremely well and tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge! Just reheat in the microwave or in a pot over low heat.

Note that the Guinness can be replaced by a bottle of good red wine. Just reduce the sugar to one tablespoon.

Guinness Beef Stew

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 cup AP flour
2.5 lb beef chuck

24 fl oz of Guinness or other stout
8 thyme sprigs
6 garlic cloves, smashed or minced

2 1/2 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
10 small potatoes
1/2 lb carrots
1 lb white mushrooms
1/2 lb peas (frozen are just fine)
2 cups pearl onions (frozen are actually preferable - peeling pearl onions takes forever)
1 orange's worth of zest
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
black pepper

Start by browning the meat. Put the flour and a pinch of salt in a large Ziplock bag. Unless the meat is pre-cut, cut it into 1-to-2-inch pieces. Add all the meat to the bag, close it, and shake until everything is coated. In a large frying pan or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches. You're looking for a nice brown crust, but it doesn't matter if it's cooked through or not.

Once all the meat is browned, bring out your biggest pot and add the beer, beef stock, thyme sprigs, garlic, orange zest, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Add the meat to the pot and turn the heat down to low. Cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, scrub and quarter the potatoes, peel and cut the carrots into "coins," and clean and halve the mushrooms. After the two hours are up, add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, pearl onions, and 2-3 tablespoons of sugar (more if it tastes a little bitter, but don't overdo it) to the pot. Turn the heat up to medium and leave uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs (most leaves will have fallen off) and bay leaves, and add the peas to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Horseradish Sour Cream

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup prepared horseradish

Stir the two ingredients together. A dollop of this is awesome with the stew.

Garlic Toast

4 slices of bread
2 garlic cloves
olive oil

Turn your oven to 350 degrees F. Put the bread on a baking sheet without overlapping. Drizzle a little olive oil on each piece. Toast in the oven until golden brown. Peel and halve the garlic cloves. Once the bread has cooled slightly, rub the cut end of the garlic on the side of the toast that you drizzled with olive oil. Serve with the stew.


  1. wot? no dumplings?

  2. Welcome back :) I'm saddened by the lack of celery in this, just because I'm a bit of a celery fiend, but I'll let you off this once :D Sounds great!