Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

If molasses were a beer, it would be a Guinness stout—rich, thick, dark, caramel-y, deeply flavorful. It is Ireland’s most popular brew with, get this, more than 1.8 billion pints sold around the world every year. (That’s a lot of beer!)

Around here it’s a favorite for St. Patrick’s Day, and you can find stacks of Guinness displays at practically every store that sells beer. Naturally Guinness has made its way into flavoring many dishes, including breads and cakes as well as stews like this one.

Guinness stew is Ireland’s answer to Belgian carbonnade, with chunks of beef and with stout instead of ale, and with root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, and celery root.

Slow Cooker Guinness Stew

This stew we are making in a slow cooker (though you could make it in the oven as well). The controlled low and slow cooking is perfect for tenderizing the flavorful but tough pieces of beef chuck roast, while keeping the root vegetables intact.

The trick is to brown the meat first, before adding to the slow cooker. That way you get all of the wonderful flavor from the browned meat in your stew. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

These instructions are for making the stew in a slow cooker. If you don't have a slow cooker and would prefer to make the stew in the oven, cook everything in a large Dutch oven. After you add the liquid, bring it to a simmer on the stovetop then put it, tightly covered, in a 225°F oven for 6 hours (or a 300°F oven for 4 hours).

Note that different people have different sensitivities to bitter flavors. If Guinness Stout tastes bitter to you, then the stew will taste bitter as well. If it doesn't taste bitter to you, the stew should not taste bitter.

You can either use celery root, young turnips or potatoes in addition to parsnips and carrots. If you use turnips, make sure you only use young turnips, which are smaller and sweeter than regular turnips. Regular turnips can be quite bitter.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 pounds (900 g) well marbled chuck beef roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pint (16 ounces, 475 ml) Guinness extra stout (make sure you use extra stout and not draught)
  • 3 cups (700 ml) beef broth
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3-4 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound (280 g) celery root, potatoes, or young turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Salt
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Method

1 Brown the beef, transfer to slow cooker: Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in the butter, starting with the fattiest pieces of meat, fat side down in the pan. This will allow some beef fat to render out. Work in batches as to not crowd the pan.

Sprinkle salt over the beef as it browns. Once browned on all sides, transfer the beef pieces into the slow cooker.

2 Sauté onions and celery, transfer to slow cooker: Add the onions and celery to the pan in which you just browned the beef. Sauté the onions and celery until they begin to brown at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and mix well. Cook for a minute or two, then add a little of the Guinness, enough to make it easier for you to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

Transfer the celery and onions into the slow cooker.

3 Add Guinness, broth, root vegetables, thyme, salt: Add the rest of the Guinness, the beef broth, carrots, parsnips, celery root, and thyme to the slow cooker. Add two teaspoons of salt.

4 Cook in slow cooker: Cover and cook on "high" for 4 hours, or "low" for 8 hours. When done, add more salt to taste. If you want, sprinkle with fresh parsley to serve.

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Links:

Vegetarian Guinness Stew, from The Kitchn

Corned Beef with Guinness and Cabbage, from Steamy Kitchen

Poutine with Guinness Gravy, from Food for My Family

Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew

Showing 4 of 95 Comments

  • Cortney

    Alright, so first time I made this recipe I followed it but used pre-cut stew meat as well as yukon gold potatoes instead of parsnips. We just moved recently so I wanted to make it but on this small island they do not sell the Guinness Extra Stout. So if there is anyone out there like me that can’t get their hands on it, the O’hara’s Extra Irish Stout tastes pretty damn good in it for sure, it is a great substitute. =] My husband and I absolutely loved it in the stew.

  • Cortney

    Can anyone recommend a different stout similar to the guinness stout to use? I can’t seem to find the extra stout on this tiny island, so any suggestions for a good stout substitute would be greatly appreciated.

  • Johnny

    I love it, one of my favorite recipes! I don’t use turnip and celery stalks, since i don’t like them. I add Worcestershire sauce and You should try!

  • Pam D.

    I am making this wonderful stew again today for the umpteenth time. I do use Guinness draught and have not experienced any issues with bitterness. I believe the sweetness of the parsnips, carrots and rutabaga balance the flavours beautifully. Fresh branches of thyme and a couple of fresh bay leaves to start and fresh thyme leaves at the end. Brilliant stew indeed!

  • Jolene Green

    I love this recipe, but I have made a couple adjustments after reading all the comments. I add 2 squares of dark chocolate, no turnips and put in dumplings about 40 minutes before its done. It’s perfect for these cold winter nights.

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