Friday, March 15, 2013

Beef & Guinness Stew – Drinking AND Eating Beer on St. Patrick's Day

While I’ve never been a huge fan of drinking Guinness, I’ve always been a great admirer of how wonderfully it can elevate a simple beef stew. The subtle bitterness from the hops, and toastiness from the malt, gives the gravy a depth of flavor that I really love.

Besides, you only need one can for this St. Patrick's Day-inspired stew, and since they’re sold in 4-can packs…well, you can do the math. This would normally be the point in post where I’d make my annual Irish drinking joke, but I’m not doing one this year.

Not only is it inappropriate, but it’s culturally insensitive, and I’d like to think I’ve matured past the point of going for such cheap laughs. Besides, my Irish joke writer, Paddy O'Sullivan, was on a binge this week, so I never got one from him anyway. Oh well, like I said, probably for the best.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a gorgeous and incredibly delicious Irish stew recipe for your St. Patrick's Day menu, this one comes highly recommended. I served mine with some green onion mashed potatoes, and while I usually encourage you to serve things like this on whatever you want, not this time. You must serve this with some form of potato. And that is no joke. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 large servings:
4 strips bacon, sliced into small pieces
2 1/2 lb. beef chuck, cut in 2-inch pieces (tossed with black pepper and at least 1 tsp salt)
2 onions, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.0-oz) Guinness beer, or other dark beer
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups mashed potatoes, optional (not really)
- Simmer stew on very low heat, covered, for about 2 hours, or until fork tender
- Uncover, raise heat to med-high, and reduce, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens to your liking
- Taste and adjust seasoning!