Saturday, March 3, 2012

Beef and Guinness Stew

"Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today."

- Edgar Allan Poe

My husband's favorite beer is Guinness. We have it in the fridge at any given time. So every year around St. Patricks Day when I see beef and Guinness recipes, I always think, "I should be making that." But I hadn't till now, don't ask me why. In fact, I make beef stew often enough. Silly, I say.

My very large hunk of beef chuck ready to be cut up for stew

Silly indeed, because folks, this is delicious! Absolutely scrumptious! Beef and Guinness were made for each other, I'm telling you. Once it cooks down and all of the flavors have melded, you probably couldn't even tell that is what you were tasting. So it doesn't have a strong alcohol taste, or even a strong beer taste like I thought it might due to the fact that I added 2 bottles of it. The gravy tastes slightly like malt. It's savory and beefy with a hint of fresh flavor from the herbs.

Cutting up the chuck for stew

I made a large batch. I used 4 lbs of beef chuck and it filled my 6 quart slow cooker. You could easily make half that amount, and use a 4 quart crock pot if you'd like.

My pieces of beef that have been dredged in flour in the oil to be browned

I prefer using chuck for beef stew, and pot roast for that matter. I find it gets the most tender, and has the best flavor. My butcher sells it in that large piece (pictured above). That adds a little more work than if you were to have purchased stew meat that is already cut into pieces. The problem is, beef stew meat is usually beef round. It's much leaner than chuck and well, fat = flavor, and round doesn't have much of either.

Beef getting seared

Whenever I want to cook something low and slow like this, I go for the slow cooker. I prefer the results to oven cooking. But if you need to cook it in the oven, go for it. I've added oven directions in the recipe as well.

Fresh herbs into cheesecloth

This recipe is best made the day before serving for two reasons. One is so that the flavors can really marry. The second is while it is cooling overnight in the fridge, the fat rises to the top and solidifies, making it easy to skim off the next day.  This makes it a great dish to serve to company. Paired with a nice salad and some crusty bread you'll have quite a tasty meal.

My stew just placed into the crock pot (I used a 6 qt. since I made a large batch)

Looking for some more Irish recipes?

How about some Irish Coffee Cupcakes- (these are very good!)

Or some Luck Of The Irish Cookies- O.K. these aren't really Irish, but they are fun and yummy!

Or complete your meal with some traditional Irish Soda Bread- this is a great bread for novice bread bakers, and it would be perfect with this stew.

It took me a while to make it for the first time, but it won't take me long to make it for the second time!

My little Papillon, Lucien. My husband took this picture and I fell in love with it, so I wanted to share it with you.

Beef Stew with Guinness

this makes a large batch, enough for 8 roughly, but it can easily be halved

Keep in mind this recipe is best eaten the day after it's made.


4 pounds of Beef Chuck, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces, and with large pieces of fat trimmed off. There should be fat marbled throughout it, but if there are large pieces of fat, cut them off.

2 bottles of Guinness beer

6-8 cups (1 1/2 - 2 liters) beef stock, homemade is better, or a good brand that is low sodium

5-7 carrots (depending on size and how many you want), peeled and sliced diagonally

1-2 large onions, peeled and chopped

3 bay leaves

fresh herbs- I used a combination of a few thyme sprigs, a large rosemary sprig and some parsley (I have fresh herbs growing in my garden) if you need to buy fresh herbs I would just get either some thyme or rosemary whichever you prefer and use either 3 thyme sprigs or 2 rosemary sprigs.

salt and freshly ground pepper

flour for dredging

olive oil or vegetable oil for browning meat

about 5 cooked cubed potatoes to add after stew is cooked, (so they don't get over cooked in the stew if using crockpot, or alternately add them raw halfway through cooking time. If cooking in oven, add them raw per directions below.)

1-2 Tablespoons cornstarch for thickening the sauce if needed

fresh parsley- minced, for topping individual servings (optional)


The day before you want to eat this, start by browning the meat. Cover all sides of the cubes of meat with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place some flour (about 1/2 cup, you can add more as needed) into a shallow dish like a pie plate. Dredge the seasoned meat cubes in the flour.  Use a large dutch oven or large frying pan and add a few Tablespoons of oil and turn onto medium high heat. When pan is hot, place an even layer of cubes into hot oil. Don't crowd the pan, you're going to do this in batches. Get it nice and brown on one side (not grey, but brown) then turn the cubes and cook till brown on all sides.This is only about getting some color on the meat, it doesn't matter if they aren't cooked throughout. Remove them when done into another clean dish, and repeat until all the cubes are browned on all sides.

In the same pan, add a little of the beef stock and with a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom to remove the fond (the bits from the browned meat) and pour it all in the crock pot/slow cooker.

Add the ingredients in a few layers to your slow cooker. First add about half of the meat, then add about half of the carrots and onions, then more beef, then more carrots and onions. Add the bay leaves, and add the 2 bottles of beer. Now add enough beef stock to cover it all well, for me it was around 8 cups.

Place the fresh herbs in a cheesecloth bag, or tie them up with twine for easy removal later. Add the herbs and submerge into the stew.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

When finished, turn off cooker, remove the crock from the base if you can to let cool slightly. Place the covered crock in the fridge to cool overnight.

The next day remove from fridge and scrape off the fat that has risen to the surface and discard. Pour or ladle the contents of the crock into a large dutch oven to heat. When it's heated, taste it to check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. If you would like the sauce to be thicker, either reduce it., or add a cornstarch slurry by placing 1-2 Tablespoons of cornstarch (use 2 Tablespoons if you want it thick) into 2 Tablespoons of cold water and mix well. Add that to the hot stew and bring to boil. Right before serving add the cooked potatoes. Top individual servings with chopped parsley if desired.

For Oven Cooking-

Follow directions above, except when placing all the ingredients into the slow cooker place into a large dutch oven, like a big Le Cruset pan that has a tight fitting lid.

Cook with the lid on tight, at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, 150 degrees Celsius, or Gas Mark 2, for about 4 hours. After 3 hours of cooking you can add the diced potatoes, raw, and continue cooking for another hour. Then continue recipe as stated above.


Norm said...

I'll bet Fred prefers this stew over a birthday cake and I like your Lucien picture, very nice.

Helen said...

This looks amazing, I bet it's as delicious as it looks. You're dog is adorable! I enjoy seeing your great pictures. Thanks for the recipe.

Cindy Perloff said...

Hi Melissa ~ Your Beef and Guinness Stew is amazing! I've never tasted anything more delicious! Sweet shot of can be deceiving, aye!?!

Stephanie said...

Made your stew for St. Patrick’s Day as a change from corned beef, Melissa , and we loved it! I left the potatoes out and instead, served on a bed of mashed potatoes, making a well in the middle. Funny thing, my husband asked for French bread afterwards to soak up all the delicious sauce with, just as you had suggested! There are two things I will do differently next time—use homemade broth instead of store-bought, as you had instructed, and wait to put the carrots in until half way through cooking so that they stay firmer. Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe, Melissa! Stephanie