Irish Beef Stew

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Americans have a curious way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. We pinch each other if we forget to wear something green, we make green foods regardless if they have anything to do with Ireland, and we adapt traditional Irish recipes to our own taste.

The last is the case with this Irish beef stew. As any Irish person will tell you, lamb is the preferred meat for a good Irish stew. But here in the states we eat a lot more beef than lamb, so when we want to make a stew to celebrate all things Irish, it’s usually done with beef.

This particular stew has all of the classic trimmings of a good stew—meat, stock, plenty of root vegetables—with the addition of some Guinness extra stout, for its malty flavor and some Irish authenticity.

The recipe originally came to me through my friend Tomas, who got it from a chef friend in Europe, who had adapted a Bon Appetit recipe for stew by adding Guinness and some red wine. Every time we make this recipe it gets raves!

Updated from the recipe archives, first posted 2006.

Irish Beef Stew Recipe

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  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

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.

Ingredients

  • 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 and/or parsnips (3 to 4 carrots or parsnips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Method

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Irish Beef Stew

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Showing 4 of 268 Comments

  • Ash

    This stew was amazing! I will definitely save this recipe to make over and over again.

    A few notes:
    1) I used about 2 to 2 1/4 lbs. of beef. I really think the amount of beef listed in the recipe would be too little.
    2) I replaced the water with chicken broth, which I already happened to have on hand.
    3) I used a cheap Merlot as the “hearty” red wine, and it turned out beautifully.

  • Refa

    I had a good laugh at “adapt traditional irish recipes to our own taste”, I studied abroad in Ireland for a year, and let me tell you, I got shouted at both for beef rather than mutton, and for daring to add beer/wine/whiskey to the stew. According to my irish mates it was heresy to have the drinkables in the stew. Good times. Still think it tastes better with beer and/or wine in the stock.

  • Bridget

    Whats an example of a hearty red wine?

  • Susan

    Absolutely delicious…. I used half the carrots and substituted some rutabaga (swede)… And I’d add more meat next time and a lot less potatoes… And I’d probably add something green like peas… But truly a wonderful concoction of flavors… I also used ground thyme but only a teaspoon and a bit… Wonderful!

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