Monday, March 12, 2012

Irish Week: Guinness Beef Stew and Black and Tans

Happy St. Patrick's Day week, friends! I am approximately half Irish, and in celebration of my peoples, I am going to make Irish food all week long. 

To start it off, there's nothing better on a cold rainy day, like today, than a beef stew. Throw some Guinness in said beef stew, and voila (er, seo duit): the first Irish meal of the week.

2 lb of chuck beef cubes
5 carrots – peeled and cut into chunks
1 large white onion - chopped
4 cloves garlic - minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper (or more!)
3 cups of water*
10 baby potatoes - quartered
2 tsp sugar
1 bottle of Guinness
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste

1. Heat a dutch oven on medium-low, add about a tablespoon of oil, and brown beef cubes on all sides. Depending on how big your dutch oven is, you may have to brown the beef in batches. Transfer beef to a plate.

2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the dutch oven, and sauté the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or two, being careful to not burn the garlic.

3. Add the beef and any juices on the plate, the carrots, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, and 3 cups of water. Cover, and simmer on low fire for 2 hours.

4. Add baby potatoes to the pot. Cover, and simmer for one hour, or until potatoes are softened.

5. In a bowl, mix together Guinness, sugar, and tomato paste. Then pour the mix into the large pot. Simmer, uncovered, for one more hour, or until desired thickness (stirring occasionally to prevent burning). Add salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

6. Serve hot, with freshly ground pepper sprinkled on top.

I wouldn't feel right eating an Irish meal without some sort of alcoholic beverage. When I bought the Guinness at the store, it displayed with Harp. I haven't had a Black and Tan in a long time, but it used to be one of my very favorite drinks. So, I bought some Harp along with the Guinness.

1/2 bottle Guinness
1/2 bottle Harp

1. Pour the half bottle Harp into a pint glass.

2. Pour the half bottle Guinness on top of the Harp, being sure to float it on top, not mix the two. If you pour the Guinness into the glass over the back of a spoon, you will be able to better avoid mixing the two beers.

Since you used only a half a bottle of each of those beers for one Black and Tan, you are forced to drink at least two Black and Tans. What a bummer.

Bon appetit.

* I took a cooking class at Portland Culinary Workshop this morning called Stupendous Stocks, and I was sent home with more stock than I can fit in my freezer. I used the beef stock instead of water for this stew. Stock will ALWAYS be better than water in recipes like this, and since I have quite a lot of beef and pork soup bones in my freezer, I intend to make a large batch of stocks sometime soon. Stay tuned...

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