“Have I got the best recipe for you!” my friend Tomas announced, upon his return from a trip to photograph vineyards in Italy. “It’s an Irish beef stew,” he added, “and it’s the best thing I’ve ever had.” Apparently the chef at one of the wineries Tom was visiting prepared this stew for Tom, based on a Bon Appetit recipe, with the main difference being the substitution of Guinness (a very dark beer) and excellent red wine for some of the beef stock the recipe called for. Always eager to try new recipes with friends, I made my way to Tom’s house and we cooked this up together for his family. As I suspected, the addition of Guinness and red wine makes all the difference.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
- 1 cup of Guinness beer
- 1 cup of fine red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
2 While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.
3 Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)