St Patrick’s Day is later this week and we started celebrating early in the castle. I had beef and vegetables on hand to make a pot of stew and my P.S. (Purchaser of Spirits) had a bottle of Guinness on hand. “Booze stew!” we gasped, our eyes wide in excitement. This was not our first attempt at making stew with a beer. We’d made an Oktoberfest Stew a few years ago. A German version instead of Irish.
Actually, my P.S.’s heritage is part Irish, along with lot of other heritages. His people wandered from far and wide around Europe to mingle and join forces to make more forces. Mine were mainly Vikings that pillaged and plundered amongst themselves. And maybe in Ireland since many of us have red hair.
So we do celebrate St Pat’s with culinary gusto most years. This year we’re attending a fundraiser but still wanted to create our own Irish feast before the holiday. A hearty stew was perfect for what is still very chilly weather Up North.
I had a package of beef arm steak which my P.S. advised was a good cut to cube up for stew. As I cubed the beef and chopped up an onion, he peeled and diced the rutabaga. Those rutabagas are solid, difficult to cut and I welcomed his help in dealing with it.
I heated the heavy Dutch oven with a drizzle of oil and seared the beef cubes. Some people insist they should be floured before searing but I don’t find that necessary. I do salt and pepper the beef well.
For seasoning I went simple: about 1/4 teaspoon of rosemary and 1/4 teaspoon of basil. I stirred in about a tablespoon of minced garlic, another teaspoon of salt and a few shakes of black pepper.
I poured 3 cups of beef broth into the Dutch oven along with the 12 ounce bottle of Guinness. I stirred well and let the pot come to a boil over medium high heat. When the pot was gently bubbling I lowered the heat to medium low and put the lid on. I set a timer for an hour.
After an hour the vegetables were all getting fork tender. I added about 4 cups of scrubbed and diced red potatoes. No need to peel them. Stew is a rustic dish.
I replaced the lid and let the stew simmer for another hour.
I had looked at a recipe and followed it somewhat. The way that stew was thickened intrigued me. They melted the butter in a bowl, stirred in the flour until it was a smooth paste, then stirred it into the stew. I did that with 4 tablespoons of butter and 4 tablespoons of flour and it worked so well! Must remember that method of making a roux!
I added frozen peas at this point, stirred again and let the stew simmer for 10 more minutes as the recipe directed.
We had the stew for supper garnished with green onion. The green onions weren’t totally necessary but made the photo prettier I guess.
There was a great deal of flavor in this stew! The Guinness was there, the rosemary and basil came through a little and of course the vegetables. I’m not a huge rutabaga fan but it mingles lightly after all the stewing and isn’t a slap in the face flavor.
I loved the beef; it melted in our mouths and was still the star of the bowl. My P.S. was very pleased and is already looking forward to another stew, this time using some of his moose. I told him to have at it, I’m game. Heh. Pun intended.
Guiness Beef Stew
A hearty stew with plenty of vegetables, beef and BEER!
Add onion and sear for several more minutes, until onion is translucent and beginning to brown.
Add celery, carrots, bell pepper and rutabaga to pot. Add rosemary, basil and salt and stir well.
Add broth and beer to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for one hour.
After one hour add potatoes. Cover and simmer anohter hour.
Melt butter in a bowl and stir in flour until smooth paste. Stir into stew until evenly distributed and thickened.
Stir in peas and taste test for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Serve granished with green onions.