Monday, November 3, 2008

"Irish" Beef Stew

First, my issue with the name: Apparently, the only thing that makes this stew "Irish" is the inclusion of Guinness. Especially since the original source notes that the recipe came to her by way of a friend who'd picked it up while vacationing in Italy. Last time I checked, Italy isn't exactly close to Ireland. Anyway...

"Irish" Beef Stew
Olive oil
A pound to a pound and a half of stew beef
Six large garlic cloves, minced
Six cups beef stock or broth
One cup Guinness
One cup red wine
Two tablespoons tomato paste
One tablespoon sugar
One tablespoon thyme
One tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Two bay leaves (I didn't use any)
Two tablespoons butter (optional)
Two medium-large potatoes, peeled and chunked
One large onion, chopped
Two carrots, chopped
Salt and pepper
Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and brown beef on all sides over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and sauté one minute. Add red wine....
...tomato paste, thyme, sugar, Worcestershire sauce....
...and beef stock (I only had about two cups, so that's all I used). Stir, bring to a boil (add bay leaves if you've got them), reduce heat, cover, and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally. Mmmm...look at all that glorious thyme.

Now, you can do one of two things. Thing one: Melt butter in a skillet and
sauté vegetables until golden, about fifteen or twenty minutes. Add to the stew after it's simmering hour is up, and simmer uncovered for another 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
Or, if you've got time to kill and can afford to let the stew simmer for a lot longer than an hour and forty minutes, thing two is for you: When you feel like it (about an hour before you're going to serve the stew), go chunk the vegetables and toss them straight into the pot. Give them a good stir, and simmer uncovered for the rest of however long you've got. (Let them simmer for at least an hour, otherwise they run the risk of staying crunchy.) Then sprinkle with parsley and serve.

I didn't actually eat the stew. After cooking it all afternoon and smelling it and looking at it, it just wasn't what I wanted for dinner. So I had leftover mac 'n' cheese while the boys ate the stew. They liked it.

Difficulty: 2
Takes about two hours
Serves 4 or more.