This Guinness Irish beef stew is the ultimate comfort food. So easy to make in one pot and the kind of food you want on a cold day.
At the end of 2016 everyone was so ready to have the year be done with. As if magically the first day of January everything would be better. I didn’t really think 2016 was so bad, not enough to warrant it marked as the worst year ever. But let me tell you January 2017 really sucked.
Winter has been tough emotionally. Things have been weighing on my mind. I’ve really struggled to be productive and I have this all around sense of feeling low.
Oddly enough even though I’ve shared my deepest fears on this site for the last 7 years I often don’t write until I’m on the other side with some perspective. January has been dark, February isn’t so hot and I’m just waiting for the light. Maybe March will be better.
Although I’d call myself an extrovert when I’m feeling low I tend to isolate myself. There have been many times in my life where I haven’t left the house in days and it doesn’t really bother me. Maybe that’s why I love cooking so much. I can stay inside and brood yet achieve something.
Although I had big plans to accomplish today I stopped in to see Dave at Loka and he mentioned there was a “puking flu” was going around. Suddenly a wave of hypochondriac nausea flooded my body. Maybe I have it? Maybe I need to go home?
So I did.
But before that I stopped to pick up some stewing beef. Even on dark days I feel a greater sense of needing to make sure we’re both eating real food. Stews remind me of when I was young and I never really appreciated them. Perhaps because my grandmother was a terrible cook. She could cook a mean Nova Scotia chowder but almost all of the other food was horribly bland – I blame her Scottish roots.
But her stew didn’t have beer…or really any seasoning.
Ireland does make great comfort food. I did have a great time eating food in Dublin and even though everyone says Dublin isn’t Ireland I had a great time. Who doesn’t love meat and potatoes every now and then?
Love one-pot recipes? Check out this easy French cassoulet recipe.
Stew is really a lot art in North America. It doesn’t need to be heavy with beef or pork. In fact this stew has lots of great root vegetables. Normally I like a tomato based stew but I wanted to switch it up so this Irish beef stew uses Guinness to create a deep flavour perfect for dark days.
They key to a great stew is the sauce, it needs to be hearty like a gravy and thick enough to stick to your ribs. Using tomatoes as a base for sauce helps as they reduce into a thickened sauce but as stock and Guinness are the base for this Irish beef stew it needs a bit of chef help. So naturally I called Dave for his advice.
3 Easy Ways to Thicken Stew
- Take 1/3 of the root vegetables and puree them when the dish is done and add them back into the stew. This is my favourite because it’s the easiest but Dave prefers a more classic French technique.
- Beurre Manié – it translates to kneaded butter. Take equal parts room temperature butter and flour and mix together either with your hands or with a whisk. The butter coats the flour and allows it to thicken the stew while giving it a rich buttery taste. However, the key is to make sure that the flour and butter are thoroughly mixed like a soft paste. This recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of each and I think it’s easier to do with your hands.
- Thicken with a mix of cornstarch and water. Take a cup of the stew liquid and add a tablespoon of corn starch to it. Mix thoroughly before adding to stew.
It’s a bit more work to use Guinness but I like the tart element and it really brings out the flavour of beef and gives it a rich flavour.
Guinness Irish Beef Stew
This recipe is lighter than you think, while it is an Irish beef stew it is mostly carrot, celery and parsnips.
Mushrooms would also be great here, that’s the wonderful thing about stew, you can look in your fridge and use whatever you have on hand. If you want to add potato I would cut back a carrot and parsnip. I didn’t have any and was feeling parsnipy 🙂
This can also be cooked in a slow cooker. Simply follow until step 4 and place all ingredients in a slow cooker for 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high.
This stew is great on its own and served with crusty bread. Traditionally Irish beef stew is served on mashed potatoes and is a great option for those with a larger appetite.