I made this dish last weekend without using a recipe – I never really use one for beef stew, since this is the kind of dish I can make in my sleep. Stews are super easy. This is a basic recipe, but you can add/change/delete ingredients to suit your own needs and taste. For example, sometimes I use leeks instead of onions. This recipe also doubles really easily; just double all ingredients, but you’ll need a pretty large pot.
Okay, here we go then….
GUINNESS BEEF STEW
2 lb. stew meat
1 large white onion, chopped (about 2 C)
2 C chopped peeled carrots
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 – 6 C Guinness, divided
2 C low-sodium beef broth
Big handful fresh thyme
Vegetable oil for browning the beef
Flour for dredging beef
Cayenne for seasoning flour
2 lb small new potatoes, red or gold
2 C frozen sweet peas thawed (optional)
Chopped scallions and parsley for garnish.
Put a large dutch oven over medium heat. Trim some of the fat from the beef. When the pot is hot, add a couple TB of the oil to the pot. Put a quarter cup flour in a bowl and season it with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. (Use about a quarter TSP of cayenne.) Dredge half the beef in the flour mixture, shaking off as much excess as you can and put it into the oil in the pot. Don’t touch it at all for at least five minutes, let it brown well on the first side; then turn the meat over to the other side and brown that side too. After you flip the first batch of beef, pour two C Guinness into a frosted pint glass, and take a sip. When the beef is browned on both sides, remove to a clean bowl. Take another sip of Guinness. Dredge the rest of the beef in the flour mixture, brown both sides of that, then remove to the same bowl. (If more oil is needed, add a little and let it get hot.) While the second batch of beef is browning, sip the Guinness and contemplate life in The Olde Country.
When the second batch of beef is done browning, remove it to the bowl and add all the chopped vegetables to the hot dutch oven. (If you think a little more oil is needed, go ahead and add it.) Season the vegetables liberally with salt and pepper, stir the vegetables so they’re all covered w/ oil, cover the pot and cook the vegetables, covered, for about 20 minutes, removing the lid and stirring every five minutes. Meanwhile, drink some more Guinness. After 20 minutes or so, when the onions are well wilted, remove the cover, raise the heat a little, scrape the fond off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon into the liquid released from the vegetables, and cook the vegetables 10 minutes uncovered. The vegetables should be pretty well wilted, browned a little and quite soft at this point. Add two cups Guinness to the pot, scrape up any remaining fond in the bottom of the pot, and bring the liquid to a boil. When it is boiling, reduce heat to low, add the beef and accumulated juices back to the pot, add the thyme, and add enough Guinness to cover. If you don’t have enough Guinness left over because you drank it, supplement the liquid with the beef stock. Cover the pot and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes, for one hour.
After 45 minutes, open another bottle of Guinness, pour into a freshly frosted pint glass, and take a sip. Scrub the potatoes, slice in half (or quarters if they are quite large). At the one-hour mark, add the potatoes, cover the pot and cook over low heat, barely a simmer, for another hour and a half, stirring every 15 minutes, and scraping up any more fond that develops on the bottom of the pot.
(If you’re adding sweet peas – I always do! – add them with 15 minutes cooking time remaining.)
After 2.5 hours, give the pot one more stir to release any remaining fond, turn the heat off, and let the stew sit, covered, for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, add 1/2 C chopped scallions and 1/4 C chopped parsley to the stew, reserving some more to garnish when serving.
Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish w/ some chopped parsley and scallions, and serve.
Served best with warm, buttered biscuits or better yet, toasted soda bread slathered with butter.