Americans have a curious way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. We pinch each other if we forget to wear something green, we make green foods regardless if they have anything to do with Ireland, and we adapt traditional Irish recipes to our own taste.
The last is the case with this Irish beef stew. As any Irish person will tell you, lamb is the preferred meat for a good Irish stew. But here in the states we eat a lot more beef than lamb, so when we want to make a stew to celebrate all things Irish, it’s usually done with beef.
This particular stew has all of the classic trimmings of a good stew—meat, stock, plenty of root vegetables—with the addition of some Guinness extra stout, for its malty flavor and some Irish authenticity.
The recipe originally came to me through my friend Tomas, who got it from a chef friend in Europe, who had adapted a Bon Appetit recipe for stew by adding Guinness and some red wine. Every time we make this recipe it gets raves!
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots and/or parsnips (3 to 4 carrots or parsnips)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Brown the beef: Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt over the beef pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large (6 to 8 quart), thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
Pat dry the beef with paper towels and working in batches, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over and brown on another side.
2 Add garlic and sauté, then add stock, water, Guinness, wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme Worcestershire, bay leaves, simmer: Add garlic to the pot with the beef and sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the beef stock, water, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, then cover and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3 Sauté onions, carrots in separate pan: While the pot of meat and stock is simmering, melt the butter in another pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots. Sauté the onions and carrots until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step 2 has simmered for one hour.
4 Add onions, carrots, potatoes to beef stew, simmer: Add the onions, carrots, and the potatoes to the beef stew. Add black pepper and two teaspoons of salt. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off any excess fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.