Monday, March 19, 2012

Beef and Irish Stout Stew

I'll be honest with you... other than having a great time in an Irish pub when I was younger, I really don't see the significance that St. Patrick's Day brings. Then again, I'm not Irish by any stretch of genealogy, so I have an excuse.  BUT... as I'm doing his genealogy, it turns out, my hubby is 1/32 Irish (his 3rd great grandfather was born in Ireland and immigrated to Canada during the Great Potato Famine).

So this year I figured, why not make some Irish dish for supper. I looked and looked, and there are TONS of recipes out there, many sound delish! However, even though I like to cook, I look for simpler dishes that are still delicious, but will be easy to replicate and don't require any fancy-hard-to-find ingredients. I came across the Beef & Irish Stout Stew and decided to give it a try. It turned out AWESOME! And I'm not just saying that cause I made it, it really was THAT GOOD :) I'm not a huge fan of beef, but this just melts in your mouth with minimal chewing of beef involved (you know, the kind one has to do with a well-done steak).

(click on photos to enlarge)

* Beef - about 2 lbs of lean stew meat, cubed
* Onions - 2 large ones
* Garlic - 1 clove crushed (I say put in more if you're a fan of garlic)
* Carrots - 3-4 mediums ones to make 2 cups when chopped
* Vegetable oil - 3 tbsp (I used good ol' Canola oil)
* All-purpose flour - 2 tbsp
* Tomato paste - 2 tbsp
* Salt & pepper & cayenne pepper - 1 pinch of each
* Fresh thyme (I didn't have any, so I just skipped it)
* Irish stout beer - 1½ cups (I used Guiness, of course)


Note: to funk up this recipe, I used assorted colours of carrots:
red, orange, white (not shown), and of course, green!

1. Chop carrots to make about 2 cups full (adjust amount as you wish).
2. Chop onions.
3. The recipe calls for crushed garlic, but since I could not locate my garlic press, I just finely chopped it.

4. Toss the beef cubes with 1 tbsp of oil and set aside. In another bowl, mix together flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add your beef to this and mix to make sure that beef is fully covered (just make sure there is no powder on the bottom of the bowl; that's how you know you're done). Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in the deep skillet over med-high. Add the beef and brown it on all sides.

5. Add the onions and garlic.

6. Dilute tomato paste with a splash of water.

7. Stir the diluted tomato paste into the pan and blend. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

8. Pour ½ cup of beer into the pan. As it begins to boil, make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon (i.e. you don't want anything to stick and then burn later). This will add lots of flavour to the broth.

 9. Pour the rest of the beer (so 1 cup) into the pan. Add carrots and thyme (I didn't have any thyme, so I just skipped it).

10. Mix everything well (it's going to look almost like a thick soup).

11. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours (I only simmered it for just over 2 hours, I felt that was enough). Stir occasionally, but make sure you do it well, because some stuff may still stick (I just made sort of scraped the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon).

12. I served it with my favourite, mashed potatoes, but it'll go well with pretty much anything! Be it rice, pasta or just a salad on the side, I guarantee you, it will taste delicious!

Bon App├ętit!

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