“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.
Please use beef chuck stew meat that is well marbled with fat. Lean stew meat will end up too dry.
Save prep time by prepping the onions, carrots, and potatoes while the stock with beef is simmering in step 2.
- 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 3 teaspoons of salt (more to taste)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups beef stock or broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup of Guinness extra stout
- 1 cup of hearty red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
- 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
- 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots (3 to 4 carrots, can substitute some of the carrot with parsnips)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt over the beef pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large (6 to 8 quart), thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Pat dry the beef with paper towels and working in batches, 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 and brown on another side.
2 Add garlic to the pot with the beef and sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the beef stock, water, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, then cover and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3 While the pot of meat and stock is simmering, melt the butter in another pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots. Sauté the onions and carrots until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step 2 has simmered for one hour.
4 Add the onions, carrots, and the potatoes to the beef stew. Add black pepper and two teaspoons of salt. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off any excess fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.