Guinness Beef Stew

Guinness Beef Stew on The Creekside CookOkay, so we aren’t Irish. I did go to a Catholic grade school called St Patrick’s when I was a kid, but since probably half of the students were Italian, I don’t think I gained any Irish points there. We had to wear scratchy green uniforms, but that was about it.

And ever since an unfortunate entanglement with green beer back many years ago [and not by me, I assure you.] we aren’t very likely to be a part of many of your typical St. Patrick’s Day celebrations either.

Except for the food, of course. I have blogged some delicious Irish- inspired food in the past. Like Brussels Sprout Colcannon and Irish Soda Bread. So even if we aren’t particularly drawn to celebrating a sort of made-up holiday in which we have no ethnic heritage, we can still enjoy some Irish inspired food. And I am really rather fond of Guinness Stout. So, it’s a match made in heaven, right? Which is where St. Patrick probably is right now, so it all works out.

Cooking with Guinness is a truly wonderful idea in any case, but it does seem especially appropriate this time of year. As does stew – the weather is still pretty dismal around here with yet another storm having blown through yesterday and depositing more snow. Stew is what you want on a day like that – hearty chunks of beef and vegetables, simmered together in a beefy broth enriched with a lovely dark beer.

On the other hand, we are going to steer right out of Ireland rather abruptly, because this stew is thickened with a roux, which I am pretty sure is not Irish. Knowing how to make and use a roux is a very good thing to have in your culinary arsenal though, and gives this stew a very distinctly rich and amazing flavor.

Roux is not that difficult, but it is a little time consuming. I tend to make it every now again and stash it in the fridge, where it keeps for a very long while, and is ready to use when I want to thicken some gravy or soup – or stew. I don’t use a super dark roux for this – it takes around twenty minutes to get it to this peanut butter color. A lot of places say 35 minutes, but I use a saute pan and high heat with constant stirring and I usually have the color I want in less time than that. You will not need all of the roux you make, but as I said, it does keep a long time in the refrigerator – just stir every now and again as it cools down, or it may separate a little.making rouxAny good stew involves getting a deep sear on the stew beef, some aromatics and some good stuff to make a flavorful broth, which in turn will become a flavorful gravy.ingredients for guinness beef stewThe final important element is to have most all of the major ingredients cut to about the same size pieces. I like about 3/4 of an inch, but if you prefer, you can go heartier with bigger chunks, or maybe more kid-friendly with smaller pieces. It’s up to you, but having them all about the same size makes the stew easier to eat and it looks nice.vegetables

Guinness Beef Stew
Recipe type: Soups and Stews
Serves: 5 to 7
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 6 ounces flour, divided
The Stew
  • 1 pound of trimmed beef chuck roast, cut in ¾ inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly grate black pepper
  • I large onion, peeled and cut into ¾ inch chunks
  • 1 large celery rib, sliced into ½ chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 12 ounce bottle Guinness draft stout
  • 1 cup plain tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 ounces [about 3 medium] red potatoes
  • 12 ounces [about 4 medium] carrots
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • salt and pepper to taste
Make the roux [you can do this at any point while the stew is simmering]
  1. Using a wide saute pan, melt the butter over a medium flame.
  2. Whisk in 4 ounces of the flour, until well combined.
  3. Leaving the heat on medium to medium high, whisk the butter-flour mixture constantly. Make sure to get all of the edges and corners so that nothing scorches. The color will gradually deepen as you go along.
  4. After about 15 minutes, I usually end up adding another ounce or two of flour, if it seems on the thin side. It usually takes about 20 minutes or so to get a color close to peanut butter, which is what you want.
  5. Scrape the roux into a bowl - stir a few times as it cools, so that it doesn't separate. No big deal if it does - you can reheat it to recombine if need be. Set aside.
  6. In a 5 quart heavy pot, heat the olive oil.
  7. Season the beef with the salt and pepper, begin browning it in the hot oil. You will want to do this in a couple batches, so that you get a good sear on the beef chunks. Set the browned beef aside in a bowl.
  8. Immediately, add the onions, celery and garlic to the hot pan, and stir around. Lower the heat slightly and continue to stir for a few moments.
  9. Add the bay leaves and thyme.
  10. Carefully add the bottle of Guinness to the pan - it will foam up some and let off a lot of steam, so don't burn yourself. Stir, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  11. Stir in the tomato sauce, beef broth, water.
  12. Bring to a simmer, lower heat a bit, cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly askew so that it doesn't sputter all over the stove.
  13. Cook until the beef is tender - about 2 hours, but it might be longer.
  14. Remove the bay leaves.
  15. Taste the broth, and add some salt and pepper if it needs it.
  16. Stir in the potatoes and carrots and cook about 15-20 minutes, until fork tender.
  17. Stir in the peas. If frozen cook a minute or two, if fresh, cook about 5 minutes.
  18. Stir in the roux, one tablespoon at a time, letting each addition cook a minute or so to see how thick it gets. Keep adding the roux by tablespoonfuls until it is as thick as you like it - usually around 3 to 4 tablespoons is enough.
  19. cook the stew at a low simmer for about 5 minutes more.
  20. Serve hot, refrigerate leftovers.

Now, if you happen to have a few extra bottle of Guinness still around at dinner time, you might like to crack those open to enjoy with your stew – maybe some crusty bread as well, to sop up that delicious gravy.Bowl of Guinness Beef Stew

6 thoughts on “Guinness Beef Stew

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