I woke up Saturday morning and I had Irish Beef Stew on my mind. Not sure why I had anything Irish on my mind, as we usually do not celebrate St. Patrick’s day, any longer; we are too old. The idea would not disappear so I had to go with it. I have not made Irish Beef Stew in years. I vaguely remember one of my first cookbooks, when I was 16, as it had a recipe for Irish Stew. I loved that book, and wish I still had it. I did some research before hitting the market, and then I played in the kitchen, working on this recipe.
What I did find out during my research was that Irish Stew is usually made with the cheapest, most readily available ingredients. The Irish mostly used sheep and root vegetables in their recipe. 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. Sometimes, barley is added, and most often mashed potatoes to thicken.
We had recently enjoyed lamb so I decided to use some beautiful grass-fed beef stew meat I had even though beef is not a traditional ingredient in Irish stew. I went for it!
I browned the beef and seasoned it with garlic, salt, and pepper. Kept it simple. After browning I added a can of Murphys Stout (it was on sale and I got 4 BIG cans), some beef stock, then let the stew do its thing on a very low heat for two hours before adding some onion, potatoes, and carrots. We do not like overcooked vegetables, so I added them the last 30 minutes of cooking and they come out perfect.
The stew came out incredible. The beef was moist and retained all of the flavorings during the long gentle cooking process. The root vegetables were perfect, not too hard nor too soft. I served this stew with cheddar biscuits, a Mark Bittman recipe, which was fantastic and icy cold Murphy’s Stout.
Recipe: Irish Beef Stew
* serves 4
1 lb beef stew meat
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 bay leave
1 1/2 cups of Murphy’s Stout or Guinness
4 cups of beef stock – homemade preferably
1 small yellow onion, cut in half and then quarters
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
Yukon potatoes, cut in half, then quartered
3 tablespoons cornstarch
parsley, handful, minced
Pat the beef cubes dry with paper towels.
Warm the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the beef and lightly brown; stirring often.
Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the tomato paste, stout, and stock, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a very low simmer, and cook for 2 hours.
Add the onion, carrots, and potatoes; stir. Cook for thirty minutes.
Place the cornstarch in a small bowl, whisk in some of the hot broth from the stew, until smooth. Add the mixture back to the stew and stir to combine. Let the stew cook for a few more minutes until the broth is thickened. I do not like it too thick and find three tablespoons of cornstarch is perfect. If you like a thicker stew then add more.
Before serving stir in parsley.