In a few weeks Sean and I are heading overseas with two dear friends for 11 days of driving through the south and west of Ireland. After months of research and Guinness-infused meetings, we’re ready to see the quaint towns and salty wind-swept green countryside that make up this gorgeous, rugged place.
During our last meeting, I prepared Guinness-braised beef in honor of the first three days of our trip, which will be spent in Dublin over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. This dish of tender beef, rendered bacon and vegetables lacquered with a thick sauce of Guinness, beef stock and wintry herbs is perfect for winter months when wearing many layers of clothing hides those few extra pounds we need to keep ourselves warm.
Resources used: This recipe comes from Cooking with Friends, a sweet little cookbook with gorgeous photography that’s wonderful for any kind of entertaining. I really like the addition of the steamed red potatoes in this dish. Cooking them separately and adding them right at the end allows them to maintain some texture and keep their lovely brick colored skins.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, such as beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, large dice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups Guinness stout beer
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 bouquet garni (two bay leaves and a few sprigs each of parsley, thyme and rosemary tied with butcher’s twine)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 pound red potatoes (skin on), quartered
Freshly parsley, chopped
Method: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and sear it in batches until brown. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate; cover with foil to keep warm.
Turn the heat down slightly, add the bacon and cook until brown and crisp. Remove, and add to the plate with the beef.
Now add the butter and onion, and sauté for 8-10 minutes until tender and slightly brown. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to remove the raw flour taste. Pour in the Guinness and stir to incorporate the flour, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom.
Return the beef and bacon to the pan (along with their lovely juices), and add the carrots and bouquet garni.
Add the beef broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 2 hours until the beef is very tender, stirring occasionally.
While the meat cooks, prepare the potatoes by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove, and set aside.
When the beef is tender, pull it out along with the bacon, onion and carrot and transfer it to a large bowl. Raise the heat to medium high, and cook the braising liquid until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Check the seasoning, and adjust as needed. Return the beef, bacon, onion and carrot to the pot, and stir in the potatoes.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve. Serves 4. It might seem like a lot of beef, but truthfully, this meal served exactly 4 slightly ashamed yet very ravenous people.