Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! (BAN-ukh-tee nuh FAY-leh PAH-drig ur-iv)

Celebrating in style with Guinness Beef Stew

Kiss me, I’m Irish!

Well, okay, not really. Unless one of those spit-test ancestry DNA kits tells me otherwise, I’m fairly sure I don’t have much, if any Irish blood in me. But today, that doesn’t matter. This Saint Paddy’s Day, more so than all the others I’ve celebrated, I just flat out feel Irish.

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Photo by Little Visuals on Pexels.com

Maybe it’s because the entire house is bathed in the delicious scent of my Irish stew that has been simmering on the stove all day. Maybe it’s the box of Lucky Charms on the counter, missing quite a few more marshmallows than cereal. Maybe it’s because I’ve been learning to speak Irish these past few months, go raibh maith agat. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m traveling to Ireland with my best friend in less than FOUR DAYS!

This vacation has been a long time coming. My bestie Jen and I have been planning a kid-free girls trip together for several years. It originally started off with talks of spending a couple of days driving around California, vineyard hopping, but plans have significantly grown over time. Let’s just say after ten straight years of pregnancies and breastfeeding, Jen has earned herself a hell of a lot more than a short road trip! Unlike me, Jen does have Irish roots, so Ireland was an easy choice for a destination. And lucky for me, I get to join in on the fun!

In just a few days, she and I will be trekking along the streets of Ireland, enjoying pints of dark beer to the sound of great Irish music, sipping “illegal” craft cocktails in secret underground bars, getting pampered in posh Dublin spas, eating traditional Irish fare with wild abandon, and sleeping in fancy castles nearly as old as St-Paddy himself! 

So in light of this upcoming and greatly anticipated vacation, I’ve decided to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with more gusto than usual—which has generally been limited to serving Lucky Charms to the kids for breakfast and maybe wearing something green.  Maybe. Today, not only did we dress in green, I went full on green eye shadow while listening to traditional Irish pub tunes and making Lucky Charms Marshmallow Squares. I also decided to make a traditional Irish dish for dinner. And what could be more Irish than a hearty beef stew made with a can of Guinness?

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Now, I don’t want to strum my own fiddle, but if there’s one thing I know how to make, it’s a bloody fantastic beef stew.

The secret to any good beef stew in general is the right cut of meat. For this dish, you need to go with a nicely marbled beef chuck. It’s a tough but extremely flavorful cut of meat, which makes it the ideal choice for stewing. The marbling is what gives it that pull-apart, melt-in-your-mouth texture a good stew needs.  

But if you want to know the secret to a bloody fantastic beef stew, you just need to give it time. Yes. Time. You need to let that baby simmer on the stove for several hours. Not two. Not three. But six, at least. (Alternatively, this is also where a slow cooker can really come in handy on those cold winter work days when all you want is to come home to a delicious smelling home and a hearty meal, without all the fuss.) 

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Time is the key to tenderizing the meat and getting the most out of its flavor. 

We enjoyed this homey, heart-warming stew tonight served on creamy mashed potatoes and my crispy Yorkshire Pudding. Alternatively, you can serve this on rice, polenta, mashed parsnips or couscous with a side of roasted veggies or tossed salad. The possibilities go on and on. 

Kick off your next St-Patrick’s day with Lucky Charms Marshmallow Squares or take it a step further and treat yourself to a Shamrock Shake, like we did. (Tip: Dip the rim of your glasses in marshmallow fluff and roll around in Lucky Charms for extra sweet fun!)

Stay tuned for more on my trip to Ireland, packing tips, and all the wonderful food consumed. In the meantime, give this fabulous stew recipe a try! And Happy St-Paddy’s Day, everyone! Sláinte!

Recipe for Irish Guiness Beef Stew

Serves 6

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. beef chuck
  • 1 can Guinness
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 3 large yellow potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: 2 tbsp flour (see NOTE)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook until soft and golden, taking care not to burn the garlic. 
  2. Add the beef chuck to the pot and sear the meat on all sides. Once the meat is seared, pour in the can of Guinness, then add the carrots, potatoes, broth, water and spices, and stir. 
  3. Bring to a boil, then move pot to the smallest element on your stove and simmer on low heat for at least 6 hours. Make sure to keep checking on it and stir occasionally to make sure the bottom is not burning.
  4. NOTE: The stew will thicken and the liquid will cook down. If it cooks down too much, add more water and decrease the heat. Some people like their stew a bit more soupy than others. I prefer mine on the thicker side. If you find the stew is a little too soupy for your liking, whisk 2 tbsp of flour with hot water in a small bowl. Pour over a fine mesh sieve into the stew and stir well for a few minutes. This will thicken it up. Repeat this step until you get your desired thickness. 
  5. Serve hot on creamy mashed potatoes or rice with Crispy Yorkshire Pudding on the side for dipping. Enjoy! 
  6. ** For cooking with a crockpot, simply add all ingredients to slow cooker, omitting the water. Thicken with flour and water mixture when ready to serve.

 

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