I made this stew the other day, and it totally rocked my world. It’s a symphony of carrots, parsnips, and seriously-tender beef, all gloriously perfumed with dark beer, strong coffee, and bittersweet chocolate. In other words, it’s…The Most Delicious Stew In The World.
Don’t make me beg you to try this variation on the traditional “Beef and Guinness Stew.” It’s wonderful on day-one, and even better on days two and three. The flavors really come to life after you chill and reheat the stew.
Need a magical main course for St. Patrick’s Day or any day? Make this aromatic poetry. My step-by-step recipe:
There. Our prep-work is complete. Let’s cook our stew!
Tip the carrots and parsnips into the skillet, and let them sit, undisturbed, until they start to caramelize — about 5 minutes per side. These caramelized veggies will take on a whole new dimension of flavor. Or “flavour,” if you happen to live Tunbridge Wells, England, just as my friend Harold does.
Oh, never mind. I don’t think Harold even reads this website.
But let’s escape Tunbridge Wells for now, and board a jet to Dublin. It’s beer-time, baby.
If you can find Guinness Stout where you shop, by all means purchase a large can of the stuff. Large, as in 14.6 ounces. Or, select a different brand of dark beer. My Lousy Local Supermarket® offered only Murphy’s Stout, so that is what I purchased. It worked out just fine.
Pour the beer into the hot skillet, and let it boil while you scrape up, with a wooden spatula, all the flavorful bits of meat and vegetables that have stuck to the pan. Add this yumminess to the other ingredients in the big pot.
Bring the brew to a boil over high heat. Then cover the pot, lower the heat, and let the stew simmer quietly until the beef is meltingly-tender — about 2 hours.
While we wait for our stew to stew, let’s head outside and look for signs early-spring life. Pictured above are Galanthus (a/k/a “snowdrops”) in my Serpentine Garden. These determined growers pushed their nodding white bells through a thick tangle of Baltic ivy. Gotta love ’em.
When the stew is finished, thicken the broth. To do this, mix 1 generous tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water, and stir it into the simmering stew. The broth will thicken immediately. (Hate cornstarch? Use potato flakes or tapioca starch to the thicken the stew.)
Also, taste the stew for seasonings. You might like to add more salt.
Ahead of time note: If you are making this stew a day or two in advance, which I heartily recommend, let it cool, uncovered, to room temperature. Then cover the pot and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. Before serving, bring the stew to a bare simmer over a low flame.
Here’s the printable:
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