Irish Heritage Cooking: Guinness Beef Stew

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 @ 04:02 PM

This is the time of year that I really start cooking with my Irish heritage in mind. I tend to start getting out my Irish, Scottish, and Celtic cookbooks and start perusing looking for new and different recipes that I have not tried yet. My husband was the first in his family born in America. Both his parents were from Ireland. I myself am an American melting pot. My father’s family was from Holland, though both his parents were born here, first generation Americans. My mother’s family on the other hand, has been in the states since before they were even states. I have ancestors from my mom’s side that hail from Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Holland, and I believe there was someone from Switzerland as well. So with my own ancestry involved, my kids are needless to say, very Irish. I have always felt it important to relay to my boys, where they came from. I feel that history is important. For us, cooking is also part of our history and our heritage.

I do usually go the route that many other American’s take when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day. We have corned beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes and carrots. I make my own soda bread. Which, by the way, is excellent toasted the next day or so, and liberally spread with Kerrygold butter and preserves or lemon curd. But as I said, about a month before St. Patty’s Day, I just start cooking Irish. Shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, Porter cake, soda bread, potato leek soup, traditional Irish spiced beef to name a few.

This year, given that the Great Guinness Toast will be this weekend, Feb. 18, 2011, I decided that this was the year I was going to try my own Guinness Beef Stew. I viewed a few recipes and then made it my own. Here is what I came up with:

Guinness Beef Stew:

‎2 lbs. beef stew meat
2 cups Guinness
1 garlic clove smashed
2 bay leaves

24 hours before starting the stew, marinate the beef cubes in the refrigerator with the above ingredients in a bag or non-reactive container. (For those that are shy, don’t marinate the meat, and just proceed with the rest of the recipe.)

When you are ready to begin, drain off the marinade and discard the garlic and bay leaves.

1 onion chopped
2 celery ribs chopped
1 large leek, white part only, chopped or sliced

Sweat the vegetables in a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven for about 5-7 mins.
Remove and set aside.

Coat the beef cubes in 1\2 cup flour and 2 tsp. black pepper. Add some more butter to the pan and brown the meat. Remove meat.

Deglaze the pan with 2 cups of fresh Guinness.

Now either put the all above ingredients into a crock pot or continue on your stove top in your cast iron Dutch oven.

Add 2-3 cups homemade beef stock, 2 cans of beef broth, OR 2 cups boiling water with 2 beef bullion cubes. (I prefer homemade stock)

A handful or more baby carrots
2 parsnips, peeled and cut up
1 medium turnip, peeled and cubed
A Bouquet garni (tied cheese cloth ball) of 3 sprigs fresh parsley, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 8-10 black pepper corns)

Bring to a boil on the stove top, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 1\2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
(If using a Crock Pot, about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.)

Before serving add a Tbsp. of corn starch mixed with some cold water…to thicken.

Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes and fresh Irish soda bread. Regular butter is great but Kerrygold is even better!

Classic Irish Soda Bread:

4 cups flour

1 1\2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking SODA

2 cups buttermilk (milk with tablespoon or 2 lemon juice…let it sit & curdle a minute before you add it to flour mixture)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease an 8″ cast iron skillet. In large bowl toss together dry ingredients. Add buttermilk…stir briskly with fork til dough forms together in a rough mass. Knead on a liberally floured surface for about 30 secs. Pat into a 8″ round about 1 1\2 thick (mine is always thicker than that) Slash a large 1\4″ deep cross across the top. Place in cast iron skillet & bake 45-50 mins.until nicely browned and the cross has spread open. Transfer to a rack to cool, then wrap in a slightly damp tea towel and let it rest for 8 hours.

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