Guinness Stew

I think stew is so easy to make and versatile. You can add or subtract any ingredient you want depending on what you have on hand. I like to get as many vegetables in my diet as possible and what better way then in the guise of a hearty, thick stew. My inspiration for this recipe was from the two bottles of Guinness in the refrigerator and a recent sale on stew meat. It was the perfect storm of cookery...well almost perfect storm, had I remembered I didn't have any tomato paste left, which I think would have added another layer of flavor to this already flavorful stew, but I kept to my commitment of using what I had on hand and since I was nursing a slight hangover, was not up to running to the market carrying the "eyebags" I was sporting that day.

I replaced the worcester sauce seen in most recipes and added soy sauce. To thicken the stew, I used a  beurre manie, a paste formed with equal parts butter and flour. The advantages to this method is that the butter coats the flour and once added to the hot stew releases the flour particles without creating lumps. The trick is to cook the stew longer after this addition so that you avoid that floury taste. Once the beef is cooked until tender, I add the flour and butter mixture with the mushrooms and cooked an additional 15 minutes. This method adds a silky, shiny texture to your stew. This dish was total comfort food and was perfect for that  hangover I mentioned earlier. The flavor was delicious and one of those dishes that tastes better with time..

Guiness Stew
(printable recipe)

3 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 lb stew meat (dry with paper towel )
1 large onion (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
4 large carrots (peeled and cut on the bias) 
1 cup (or more) Guinness
2 cups of beef stock
2 tbs Rosemary
1 package whole mushrooms (sliced)
2 tbs soy sauce
1 cup canned sweet baby peas
2 tbs flour
2 tbs butter softened

Place a heavy stock pot or dutch oven on stove top using medium high heat, just as olive oil starts to smoke, add stew meat in batches being careful not to overcrowd pan, this will enable you to properly caramelize the outside of the beef. Once all meat is browned, add it all back to stockpot, then add onion and garlic, stir until onion is tender about 5 minutes, add Guinness and deglaze pan, stirring up the bottom of the pan of any brown bits that stick, add carrots, rosemary and beef broth to cover stew meat. Cook for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or however long it takes for meat to be very tender. Using a spoon, mix softened butter with flour in a cup to create a paste. Add sliced mushrooms, soy sauce and paste to pot and stir until stew is thickened and cook another 15 minutes, then add peas. Serve over mashed potatoes or creamy grits.


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