I woke up Saturday morning around 3 am and I had Irish Stew on my mind. Not sure why I had anything Irish on my mind, as we don’t even do the traditional St. Paddy’s Day celebrations any longer (we are too old), but the idea was there and it lingered for rest of the night. I have not made Irish Stew in years. I vaguely remember one of my first cookbooks, when I was about 16, it had a recipe for Irish Stew and I use to make it. Positive it did not include the can of beer, though. I searched around quickly before hitting the market on Saturday and never came up with a recipe that really interested me so I decided I would wing it ….
I did a little market research, so to say, and found out that Irish Stew is usually made with the cheapest, most readily available ingredients. The Irish mostly used sheep and root vegetables. Irish stew, also known as Ballymaloe or Stobhach gaelach is normally made with lamb or mutton, potatoes, onion and parsley. Other root vegetables have also been added such as turnips, parsnips or carrots. As well barley is sometimes added.
Since we had lamb recently I decided to go with beef. I purchased some beautiful grass fed beef and cubed it into bite size pieces. I then browned the beef and seasoned it with garlic, sea salt and pepper. After a good browning I added a can of Murphys Stout (it was on sale and I got 4 BIG cans), some of the beef stock that I had left over, some other good seasonings and then I let it do it’s thing on a very low heat for about 6 hours. After it cooled off, I put it in the fridge and forgot about it until tonight.
After skimming off the fat (there was very little), I gently warmed the beef stock mixture. While it was heating up I sauteed some onion, carrots and yukon potatoes. We do not like mushy veggies so this is the reasoning behind not adding them sooner in the process. The stew came out incredible. The beef was so moist and really retained all of the flavorings during the long gentle cooking process. The veggies were perfect, not to hard and not to soft. I served this stew with cheddar biscuits, a Mark Bittman recipe, which were fantastic and more icy cold Murphy’s Stout.
Recipe: Irish Beef Stew
* serves 4
- 1 lb beef stew meat, grass fed preferably
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- sea salt
- cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 bay leave
- 1 can of Murphy’s Stout or Guinness
- 5 cups of beef stock – homemade preferably
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion large dice
- 3 carrots, roughly cut
- 5 yukon potatoes, quartered
- parsley, handful, minced
Melt butter in the olive oil. Brown the beef. Add the garlic, sea salt and cracked pepper and cook a couple more minutes just to blend the ingredients. Add the tomato paste, stout and stock, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook for 5 – 6 hours. Remove from heat, let cool and refrigerate over night.
Skim the fat off the top and gently reheat. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes, add the carrots and potatoes and cook until the onion is soft. Add the veggies to the broth/meat mixture and cook on a very low heat for about one and a half hours. I did thicken the stew with a little cornstarch before serving, only do this if you want a thicker consistency. Before serving stir in parsley. Serve. Eat.