Irish Beef & Guinness Stew is a classic comfort dish and a mouth-watering dinner that the whole family will love. A hearty Irish stew is perfect as a St. Patrick's Day dinner, and it's perfect comfort food any day of the week. The best part is, it cooks itself to tender, flavourful perfection all in one pot.
Beef Stew: It's An International Dish
The addition of Guinness beer in this recipe defines it as Irish. But, if you replace the beer with red wine, and add some mushrooms, you would have a French beef bourguignon. Replace it with tomato sauce and add oregano, and you have an Italian beef stew. In addition, there's also Hungarian goulash, Russian beef stroganoff, Mexican carne guisada, to name just a few.
Why You're Going To Love This Recipe
- The alcohol will evaporate, but the dark Guinness beer adds a depth of flavour and a slightly malty richness that sets this Irish Beef & Guinness Stew apart from your everyday beef stew.
- A pot of stew simmering on the stove is a beautiful thing. Dinner is cooking itself while you do other things. Once you have everything in the pot, all that is required is an occasional stir.
- The delicious aroma of simmering beef stew will mean that everyone in the house will be hungry when it's time for dinner.
- It's economical. Because of the long cooking time, you can use a cheaper, tougher cut of beef and it will come out meltingly fork tender.
- Irish beef stew is a delicious way to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, especially when you serve it with Irish Soda Bread or any crusty bread to mop up the delicious gravy.
- Leftovers taste even better the next day!
Here's What You Need To Make It
- Beef Chuck, cut into 2" chunks: Bottom round will also work. You can buy a chuck roast and cut it into cubes yourself, or you can buy it in the store already cut and labelled as stewing beef.
- Beef Broth: This recipe is using low-sodium beef stock from a carton, but you can also use a bouillon cube or paste.
- Guinness beer or another stout beer.
- Vegetables: Carrots, celery and onions are essential. You can also add other vegetables. (see the suggestions below).
- Potatoes: I like starchy potatoes, like russets, because they add body to the stew and they are good at absorbing flavours. However, starchy potatoes do fall apart if they're cooked too long, so here they are added in the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
- Rutabaga, turnip, or parsnip, cut into chunks. Add these along with the carrot and celery.
- Mushrooms, sliced. Add mushrooms along with the garlic.
- Green peas, fresh or frozen. Add the peas ten minutes before the end of cooking time.
Step By Step Instructions
It's hard to believe something this delicious can be so easy, but it really is! And all you need is one pot.
- Brown the meat
- Add the vegetables and seasonings
- Add the beer and stock
- Cover and Simmer
Why Brown the Meat First for Beef Stew?
Although you can skip the step of browning the meat, doing so will cost your stew a lot of delicious flavour. A good sear will caramelize the beef, adding a depth of flavour, and all of those brown bits that you scrape up once the liquid is added will make it even more delicious.
Tips For Browning Meat
- Use a heavy pot with a large surface area, like a cast iron Dutch oven. A heavier pot allows for even heat distribution and less burning.
- Heat oil on medium-high in a large pot, and use an oil with a high smoke point, like vegetable oil (Save your extra virgin olive oil for other dishes where it can shine like the star that it is). Blot the pieces of meat dry with paper towels. If you try to sear the meat when it's wet, it will steam instead of browning.
- Dredge the meat in flour to give it a nice crust, while also thickening your stew.
- Brown the meat in batches, so as not to crowd the pieces in the pot, which will also result in steamed, rather than browned meat.
- Brown pieces on all sides, using a slotted spoon to transfer the browned beef chunks to a plate to make room for the next batch, adding more oil if necessary.
- When you add the beer and broth, be sure to scrape up all the browned bits of meat on the bottom of the pan. This adds rich flavor to this traditional Irish stew.
More Pro Tips for Perfect Stew
1. Avoid Overthickening The Stew
This beef stew recipe shouldn't need to be thickened with flour or cornstarch. If the meat is dredged in flour before searing, and you are adding potatoes to the pot, the stew should thicken nicely.
2. However, If You Do Need To Thicken...
If your stew turns out to be on the soupy side, and you would like a thick gravy, there are a couple of different ways:
Cornstarch or flour. For either, combine equal parts with equal parts of cold water to make a slurry. With the stew at a simmer, slowly whisk in the slurry in small amounts at a time until the stew is the desired thickness. Allow the stew to boil for a minute to cook off any flour taste if using flour.
Vegetables. Remove some of the vegetables, mash them, and then stir them back into the stew.
3. Don't Add Potatoes Too Soon
Add potatoes to the pot 30- 45 minutes before the end of cooking time to ensure they don't turn to mush.
4. Keep It At A Simmer
For the best stew, lower heat and slow cooking is the way to go. The pot should not be boiling, just gently simmering. The result is fall-apart tender beef and amazing flavor.
Cooking at too high a temperature is the most common reason for tough stewing beef. You don't want to boil it. The secret to tender stew meat is slowly cooking it on low heat (just simmering)
Tomato paste is often used in beef stew recipes. However, there is no tomato paste in this recipe because the tomato flavour would compete or overpower the deliciously subtle effect of the Guinness.
This recipe is easy to make gluten-free, and in fact that is how I always make it. Simply replace the flour with a gluten-free flour blend, or cornstarch. And replace the Guinness and the Worcestershire sauce with gluten-free versions.
This is a perfect recipe to make in the slow cooker. After browning the meat, simply put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker or crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours, depending on your particular slow cooker.
More Traditional Irish Recipes
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Irish Beef & Guinness Stew
- 2 lbs boneless beef chuck cubed
- salt & black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 onions quartered
- 4 large carrots peeled & sliced into thick rounds
- 4 ribs celery sliced
- 1 ½ cups Guinness stout beer
- 1 cup beef broth reduced or no sodium
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 medium russet potatoes peeled & cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- Blot meat dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper
- In a bowl or resealable bag, dredge the beef pieces in flour to coat.
- Over medium-high heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven with a lid
- Brown the meat on all sides in the heated oil, a few pieces at a time, removing the browned pieces to a plate. Add more oil if required.
- Continue to brown the meat in batches.
- When the last batch is browned, remove it to a plate and add the garlic, onion, celery & carrots to the pot.
- Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes.
- Return all of the meat to the pan. Add the stout, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf, scraping the pot with a spoon to deglaze. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer 2 hours.
- Add potatoes and thyme to the pot, and return to a boil
- Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as required
- Garnish with parsley and serve hot.