Saturday, January 9, 2010

Irish Beef Stew

This is a big bowl of hearty Irish Beef Stew.

This is my Irish man. He's so handsome. And sweet. And he's trying to figure out if the wine has gone bad. After another taste test, he confirmed the wine was not good. And you know I wouldn't cook with wine that I wouldn't also drink.

Saturday was my ideal day. I woke up around 6:30 AM and got out the door early. My first stop, Starbucks, my second stop, the grocery store. I really enjoy grocery shopping. Coffee in hand, I'm wearing my comfortable shoes with a detailed and organized list in hand. Oh, I love mornings like this. I bought groceries for the week, but I was most excited about the Irish Beef Stew I was going to make for Jim today.

This hearty stew has layers of flavor, from beef stock to wine to a stout beer, I chose this recipe from Simply Recipes because it made my mouth water just reading the ingredients.

Irish Beef Stew is perfect for the Irishman in your life, or anyone who needs a stick-to-your-ribs meal in the winter. We've been having 25 degree weather here in Austin. Which, by the way doesn't sound too bad when I heard from Jamie in Kentucky that she was experiencing 11 degree weather! Oh my! Jamie, make this stew - and hurry! It will warm your house and your belly.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
I cup of Guinness beer
1 cup of fine red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

This was twice as much beef as I needed, but it was such a good price and WELL MARBLED, so I cut this in half and stuck it in the freezer - for another use, at this time we don't know its destiny.

With the remaining half, I cut into one inch slices.

Then diced into one inch cubes.

Salt the meat well.

Side Note: Do you notice anything different? Have you thought that these photos rock? Is it just my obsession with food porn? I hope I'm not alone in this. Well.... I received a Cannon T1i for Christmas and although I have a long way to go in the photography department, I'm super excited about the way these photos turned out!

Garlic! Oh how I love thee. The recipe calls for six garlic cloves, I might have gone a little overboard.

I just started mincing and couldn't stop.
In a large dutch oven I added 1/4 cup of olive oil and heated over medium-high heat. Well, I didn't measure the oil but I feel pretty good about my estimating skills.

Working in batches, add the beef making sure you do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown. Cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over.

Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes.

Jim is sitting on the couch watching some crazy movie about a woman who's astronaut husband is taken over by an alien and comes back to earth to impregnate her with alien twins. It was bizarre and he was totally into it, but the SMELL of these beef nuggets cooking was enough for him to pause, turn around and say, that smells good! Then he comes in and tries to steal a piece of the seared beef. And I let him, because he is a devilishly handsome Irishman.

Once all the meat is seared, add back to the dutch oven. Quickly before another member of your family steals another piece!

Now add in all the freshly minced garlic.

Add six cups of beef stock.

This is going to lift all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan also, creating some of the best flavor for your beef stew.

Recipe calls for Guinness, but my HEB was selling individual bottles so I purchased this cream stout. Hmmm... I wonder if I can still call this Irish Beef Stew? Oh, what the heck... My cooking, my blog.

Again, I reiterate that you must cook with wine that you would also drink! Cooking with gross stuff makes your food taste gross.

Add the wine, the beer, and you have some great layers of flavor already in this stew.

2 Tablespoons of tomato paste.

1 Tablespoon of sugar.

1 Tablespoon of dried thyme. And I must insert here that I would have halved this amount, because the flavor of the thyme in the end was a tad too strong for my taste. Maybe a fresh thyme sprig would be better next time.

1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Add your bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Now for all the vegetables! This is three pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and beautiful in all their nakedness.

Dice into 1/2 inch pieces. I diced mine more like one inch pieces, which I'm glad I did, because later on in the recipe we saute these, then add to the soup to simmer for 45 minutes and they fall a part a little, and I wanted chunky potatoes in the stew.

I love chopping onions. I have these really cool/cute pink onion goggles that I wear. They make me feel like a mad scientist in the kitchen. Lop off the top end of the onion, leaving the roots. Cut the onion in half from root to tip. Peel off the paper skin. Then make several small vertical slices all the way through the onion (as shown.)

Next, rotate the onion 90 degrees and slice again, creating a fine dice.

Ah, I big pile of accomplishment right there. Also note the diced celery which is a Mandy addition, not originally in the recipe. That is about two stalks of diced celery.

The stew meat and liquids are simmering away. Meanwhile, in another pan I melt one Tablespoon of butter, and add two cups of chopped carrots. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

The carrots are such a big veggie that I gave them a head start. Next I add all the chopped onion and the celery along with another "knob" of butter.

Saute vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes.

After an hour, the stew has really reduced - which is good since we are about to add lots of veggies.

Dump them in, give them a good stir.

Now for the potatoes. I tossed the potato pieces with a sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder and white pepper in the hot skillet for a short 5-10 minutes.

Add the potatoes to the stew. My dutch oven is really getting full!

Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, I get down on the floor and test my photography skills with the babies (aka our dogs Madeline and Cole.) This is Madeline's "what's going on face."

I call her name and this is her saying "Yes mother?"

Now she's checking out the digital camera. She isn't all the comfortable in front of it.

You know where she is comfortable? In Jim's arms. (Me too Madeline!)

I love that he loves my babies as much as I do.


Oh! I can't forget the squirt. Cole, my badass poodle sporting a mohawk.


Garnish with a sprig of parsley, serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!


  1. Looks delish, Mandy!!! I am definitely going to print off this one. I think my man, though not Irish, will love it too! ~Amy

  2. Looks, wine...definitely Irish! :)

  3. Now this just looks like a pot of heaven to me. It's right up my alley too. I'm usually very busy, so soups, stews, etc...are perfect. Unfortunately, after the meat starts cooking my son David shows up and starts sampling. We end up with half the meat we started out with.

  4. mmm, this looks delish! it's funny that you posted this because i've been craving stew lately. i'm thinking this is a sign that i need to make some! lol. btw, love the photos!!!

  5. I forgot to bookmark this blog last time I made the Irish stew. I panicked this morning when I starting searching for the site with no luck. I decided to search by google images for "irish stew guinness wine" and I came across a pic of your hubby drinking a glass of wine; I thought, that looks really familiar. Clicked on pic and boom, there your site was.
    Thanks for your commentary and photos in your blog; both enjoyable and helpful!

  6. Lisa, I'm so glad you found me again! What is totally bizzar is that we are having a version of this irish stew for dinner tonight! Great minds think alike! Be sure to stop back by and let me know what you think of the recipe.


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