Beef stew is one of my favorite comfort foods, both for the wonderful flavor and the ease of preparation. I saw this recipe at Epicurious a couple years ago and then saw Elise’s notes on how they used some red wine and Guinness Stout in place of some of the beef stock, an idea that definitely appealed to me. For my own touches, I added a pound of beef soup bones for extra flavor, used Yukon Gold potatoes instead of russet, and of course used fresh thyme from our garden. Though it’s not strictly traditional, this recipe has become a St. Patrick’s Day tradition for our family, a stew we look forward to every year.
You can make this up to 2 days ahead of time. Skim the cold fat off the top before pouring into the pot. Bring to a simmer and serve.
IRISH BEEF STEW
Adapted from Simply Recipes who adapted from Bon Appetit.
Makes about 4 quarts/liters.
8-quart heavy pot with lid
6-quart heavy pot
1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil
1-1/4 pounds (567 g) stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound (454 g) beef soup bones (Ask your local butcher.)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups (1.44 liters) beef stock or canned beef broth
1 cup (240 ml) dry red wine
1 cup (240 ml) Guinness Stout
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed (I drop it in whole and remove the stems later.), or 1 tablespoon dry
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I don’t peel, but you can if desired.)
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I don’t peel, but you can if desired.)
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. In the 8-quart pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef soup bones and the meat. Cook until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add the beef stock, wine, Guinness, tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves, then stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook covered at a simmer for about 1 hour.
3. While the soup simmers, melt the butter in the 6-quart pot. Add the prepared potatoes, onion, and carrots. Saute until the vegetables are golden, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside until the soup has simmered for 1 hour.
4. Remove the bones from the stew. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onions. Simmer uncovered until the vegetables and beef are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems, then skim the fat off the surface. Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
5. Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle fresh parsley on top, then serve.