Sunday, May 1, 2011

Guinness Beef Stew

Growing up, my memories of beef stew are pretty much - Stew Meat + Golden Mushroom Soup + Dry Onion Soup Mix + Carrots + Potatoes. Not very exciting, and I really disliked Golden Mushroom Soup back then. I think the beginnings of my dislike of mushrooms came from that dish - the mushrooms didn't taste like anything, but had a nasty texture! Thankfully, I still held out hope for beef stew and have tried making it at home a couple times as an adult. Unfortunately, my husband is very particular about how he expects beef stew to taste because he had a mom who made it from scratch with no soup mixes (and I didn't know this was why he was so particular until just recently. I really need his mom's recipe!). Thankfully, the food blogging world loves to make Irish inspired meals for St. Patrick's Day, so I was able to find this recipe for Guinness Beef Stew on Mary Ellen's blog (originally from RazzleDazzleRecipes). Mary Ellen is great with comfort foods and all the stews I've seen on her site look fantastic, so I knew this recipe had great potential. I used a combination of Mary Ellen's version and the RazzleDazzleVersion (plus a couple of tasty mistakes of my own, haha) and I was floored by how good this was. So rich and velvety - and I don't even like beer! I will definitely be making this stew again!

Guinness Beef Stew
2 lbs stewing beef (I used one pound, intending to half the recipe, but messed that up a bit)
1 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne (I probably used a 1/4 tsp to my 1 Tbs flour)
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 4 tablespoons water (I used this entire amount for my half recipe, so the result was a more tomatoey flavor and a thicker consistency)
1 ¼ cups Guinness Stout (I used about 3/4 cup for my "half recipe" because it was pretty thick from the overage of the tomato paste!)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
Sprig of fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme (I used about a 1/2 tsp of fresh rosemary)
1 ½ cups beef broth, canned or homemade (I used this full amount)
Chopped parsley for garnish (I omitted)

Toss beef with salt, pepper, flour, and cayenne. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add beef and brown on all sides, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and onions, saute 2 minutes. Add tomato paste mixture, cover and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove beef to a resting bowl. Pour half of the Guinness into the saute pan where the beef cooked. Scrape up any brown bits and bring to a steady simmer for 5 minutes. Return beef to the pan and add remainder of the Guinness. Add carrots, celery, potatoes, thyme or rosemary, sugar, and broth. Stir and adjust seasonings. Cover and cook over medium-low heat (just at a nice simmer) for 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Adjust salt and pepper, and simmer partly uncovered for another hour (hmm, just now realized that I never did this! Oh well, always next time!). Adjust salt and pepper and serve.

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