Sunday, December 7, 2008

Irish Stout Stew

I've always got a hankerin' for a good old fashioned Irish stew. A little old lady who lived down the street from where I grew up used to make the most delicious and traditional Irish stew I've ever had. I still dream about it sometimes. It was creamy and delicious and so amazing.

I decided to try my hand at Irish stew once I saw this recipe in Everyday Food. Below are my adaptations. It's really easy and smells so good once it gets in the oven. AND, it's got Guinness in it. Growing up on Chicago's southwest side, I learned early on that everything tastes better with a little Guinness.

Irish Stout Stew
(Adapted from Everyday Food)

4 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
2 1/2 lbs. new potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 medium onions, chopped roughly
4 c. beef stock
1 bottle Irish stout beer
10 garlic cloves, smashed
2 boxes (20 oz total) frozen baby peas, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 F. Season beef with salt and pepper. In a 5 quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, toss beef with flour. Stir in tomato paste.

Add potatoes, onions, stock, beer, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occassionally.

Transfer pot to oven, and cook covered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours (until beef is tender). Stir in peas and heat through. Adjust seasonings again if necessary. Serve warm.

  • Irish stew is typically made with lamb's meat, but beef is a great substitute. I've actually only had Irish stew with lamb's meat once, and I've eaten it nearly every year at St. Patrick's Day.
  • This is much healthier than typical Irish fare. When you think of traditional Irish food, you're thinking of food eaten by the middle and lower classes of traditional Ireland. Unfortunately, those traditional dishes include a lot of butter, cheese, meat, etc. Meals are typically a hodgepodge of ingredients because the lower classes and farmers never wasted anything. While this isn't entirely traditional, it's much healthier and heartier than a meal during say, the potato famine. :-)
  • In my opinion, 20 oz. of peas is way too much. You can definitely get away with using one box/bag of peas.
  • I quartered my potatoes just to extend the number of potatoes in the stew. That way, everyone could get at least a little potato.
  • 2.5 lbs of potatoes = 6 medium sized potatoes
  • I roughly chopped the onions. I think the larger size adds a rustic quality to the stew, and it's easier to roughly chop rather than dice up an onion.
  • If you're looking to make this a little more traditional, add another root vegetable or two. Carrots would be great. Just add them about an hour before the stew is due to come out of the oven.
  • I found this to be not quite "liquidy" enough, but that's just for my taste. Add another cup of stock or another bottle of beer to thin it out.
  • I used white potatoes, but red potatoes are fine too.

1 comment:

  1. That looks awesome. So hearty and meaty... yum!


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