Irish Beef Stew with Guinness and Chestnuts

March 17, 2010 at 8:25 am Leave a comment

It has come to my attention after spending time dining with friends from all over the Emerald Isle over the years that corned beef and cabbage is not all they eat. Neither are spuds or sprouts for that matter (although these two are more often consumed than the corned beef). A strange hybrid created here in the States, the ubiquitous meal of corned beef and cabbage that several people share on St. Pat’s isn’t precisely what those who wish to get their Irish on would choose. Instead, they would opt for more traditional –and tastier – dishes like this beef stew that features the oh-so-Irish Guinness beer. This year, give this Irish dish a try. It doesn’t take any longer than corned beef and cabbage and I promise you’ll make it again before March 17, 2011.

Recipe: Irish Beef Stew with Guinness and Chestnuts

Details

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 lb. lean stew meat, cubed
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 8 c. beef stock, divided
  • 8 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 bunch celery, thickly sliced
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. raisins
  • 1 c. Guinness Stout
  • 18 to 20 whole cooked chestnuts, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat until it ripples. Add the meat and cook in batches, stirring constantly, until the meat is lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a large pot or Dutch oven.
  3. Lower the temperature on the skillet to medium, add the onions to the pan, and sauté for about 2 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the flour and stir to coat the onions, cooking 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook it with the flour and onions until it darkens slightly and loses the metallic taste of raw tomato paste, about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in 1 cup of the beef stock and whisk up all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven.
  6. Add the remaining beef stock, carrots, celery, caraway seeds, and raisins to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil then cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is almost tender, about 2 hours.
  7. Add the chestnuts and the Guinness and cook for 30 minutes more. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed, the sprinkle with the parsley.
  8. Serve over boiled potatoes.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

  • Use a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid if you have one. This helps the liquids evaporate more slowly.
  • Adding the Guinness toward the end of the cooking times keeps it from mellowing. If you want a milder flavor, add it with the rest remaining beef broth, vegetables, and spices. If you prefer your stew without it you can leave it out entirely.
  • The raisins may seem strange, but their sweetness really does add a lot to the finished product.
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