March 12, 2015

Beef and Guinness Stew

Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

This week I have been debating whether or not I should make the traditional corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day (still haven’t made up my mind). I've read some speculation that corned beef and cabbage is actually more of an Irish tradition by way of NYC, than it is a tradition imported directly from Ireland, but it was always something my mom made in our Irish-American household as I was growing up. Now, as a grown-up in my own kitchen, I sometimes want to make something different for St. Paddy’s Day, so I look to other Irish-inspired dishes to celebrate the day. There are so many good options, but this stew is one of my favorites.

Of course, I like to make this stew with a dark, malty Guinness, and, although lamb may be more customary for an Irish stew, my family prefers beef. I use an inexpensive chuck roast, and cut it into cubes myself. You could also use what the butcher sells as stew meat, as long as it is larger, chunks, rather than itty-bitty pieces (the big pieces make for a heartier stew). Also, it is my belief is that you can’t rush a good stew, so this stew is cooked low and slow - perfect for a tough, inexpensive cut of beef. The long cooking time tenderizes the beef and also allows the bitterness of the beer to become mellow and sweet as it combines with the beef stock and tomatoes paste over a few hours in the oven. (Be aware that substituting a more tender cut of beef, like sirloin, will require that you cut way back on the cooking time.) 

I make this stew in my cast iron Dutch oven, rather than in a slow cooker. To me, this is one of those dishes that needs a heavy cooking vessel and the dry heat of the oven in order to get the best result. Something about the way the liquid reduces into a thick, rich gravy (without the use of thickeners) as it stews in the oven is just magical. If you won't have time to spend cooking on St. Patrick's Day, just make it the weekend before, and refrigerate for a few days - it will be even better! It’s best served with some kind of potatoes. Here, I served it with champ, an Irish dish that consists of mashed potatoes with diced green onions folded in.



3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 ½ pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 ½ -inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness, or other dark beer (I prefer Guinness Draught for the stew)
2 cups beef stock (I use Better than Bouillon + water)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or a sprig of fresh)
½ teaspoon dried rosemary (or a sprig of fresh)
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
5 carrots, coarsely chopped
8 ounces cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
Salt and Pepper


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Dry the beef cubes with a paper towel, and season generously with salt and ground black pepper. In a wide skillet, over medium-high heat, sauté beef cubes in 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil until browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove the browned beef cubes, and add them to a large Dutch oven. Set the Dutch oven aside.

3. Turn the heat under the skillet down to medium, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the diced onions and celery, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for 6-7 minutes, until the onions and celery are soft. Stir and scrape the pan while the vegetables cook (the liquid released from the onions and celery will start to deglaze the pan). When the onions are soft and translucent, add in the garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for 1 additional minute.

4. Pour the beer into the skillet with the vegetables, then scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the flavorful brown bits. Pour the vegetable and beer mixture into the Dutch oven with the beef. Add the beef stock, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat, cover the pot, and place into preheated oven to stew for 1 ½ hours.

5. After 1 ½ hours, remove the lid from the pot, and stir in the chopped carrots, and the mushrooms. Replace the lid (leave it slightly ajar), and put back into the oven for 1 hour.

6. After 1 hour, remove the lid from the pot, give everything a stir, and place back into the oven (without the lid). Allow the liquid in the stew to reduce in the oven another 20-30 minutes. When the stew is thick and the beef is tender, remove and allow to cool slightly. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste before serving.

Shared at: Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage


  1. Your Beef and Guinness Stew looks amazing, we would just love it! Happy St. Patrick’s Day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  2. Congratulations!
    Your post is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thank-you, Miz Helen, for featuring my post! Hope you have a great weekend!


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