Americans have a curious way of celebrating our Irish heritage. We pinch each other if we forget to wear something green on St. Patrick's Day, 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.
How to Make Irish Beef Stew
An Irish-Inspired Beef Stew
This particular stew has all of the classic trimmings of a good Irish 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 Irish stew by adding Guinness and some red wine. Every time we make this recipe it gets raves!
Irish Stew vs. Beef Stew
While an old-fashioned, traditional Irish stew tended to contain mutton or lamb, potatoes, and maybe a few carrots, modern takes on the comforting dish range widely. While Irish stew (in the modern sense) can be made with mutton, lamb, or beef, beef stew is always made with beef.
Both stews can contain potatoes, root vegetables, flavorings like beer or wine and herbs, and thickened with potato, flour, cornstarch, or nothing at all.
Readers have put their own spin on this Irish beef stew over the years with great results. Make this recipe your own by using one of their tips:
- For a thicker stew, add a grated potato or two along with the cubed potato, or add a teaspoon or two of cornstarch dissolved in equal parts water in the last few minutes of cooking.
- You can also toss the beef in flour before browning, which will help the stew thicken up as it cooks.
- For a richer, thicker soup with a slighty different flavor, double or triple the tomato paste.
- Add up to 1/2 of a small cabbage, chopped, along with the vegetables.
More Comforting, One-Dish Meals
- Traditional Cassoulet
- Lentil Stew with Sausage
- Stuffed Pepper Casserole
- Sausage, Pepper, and Potato Bake
- Pulled Pork Enchiladas
Irish Beef Stew
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.
This is a thinner stew with only the starch from the potatoes to thicken it. If you'd like a thicker stew, omit 1/4 volume of each of the liquids and use these measurements instead: 3 cups beef stock, 1 1/2 cups water, 3/4 cups stout beer, and 3/4 cups red wine. Or, make the stew a day ahead of time and it will thicken overnight in the refrigerator.
1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef stock
2 cups water
1 cup Guinness extra stout
1 cup 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)
3 to 4 carrots or parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Brown the beef:
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 well browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over and brown on another side.
Add garlic and add the other stock ingredients, then simmer:
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.
Sauté the onions and carrots in separate pan:
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.
Add the vegetables to the beef stew and simmer:
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 bowls. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 29g||37%|
|Saturated Fat 10g||51%|
|Total Carbohydrate 71g||26%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||29%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 29mg||145%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|