By Chef Phillip Schaaf
Without the right attitude—and the right meal plans—the winter days can feel long and draining. But a warm, hearty bowl of food can get you through even the coldest days. And this Irish beef stew will do just that. Both humble and decadent —this rich stew poured over silky mashed potatoes will leave you celebrating the warm of the season.
Stew meat is usually cut from leaner muscles and roasts and tends to do well with dishes that require a few hours of simmering. Slow-and-low methods really allow for the best flavor and tenderness of stew meat. Plan for a cook time of about 3 to 3 ½ hours for this stew to thicken to the proper consistency and the beef to reach the desired tenderness.
About the stock—this recipe calls for three cupsI suggest homemade chicken or beef stock, but if you want to use a store-bought stock, I always recommend chicken or vegetable stock. Personally, I find that store bought beef stock can have a somewhat unnatural flavor to it. Let’s get to the meat and taters of the recipe…
What You'll Need
2 Tbsp Olive or Grapeseed Oil
2 lbs Beef Stew Meat, cubed
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
4 oz bacon, jowl or belly, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet onion, diced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp flour
1 pint Guinness beer, or other Irish stout
3 C of stock, either chicken or beef, or vegetable
2 large carrots, peeled and large diced
2 stalks of celery, large diced
3 oz cremini mushrooms, halved
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
1 Qt of your favorite creamy mashed potatoes
Start by seasoning the stew meat with salt and pepper liberally. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil on medium high just until it shimmers, or almost to the smoke point. Add the beef and brown it on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the pan and add the bacon. Reduce the heat to medium and render the bacon until it is nice and brown. Remove it from the pan and reserve with the stew meat.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for just a few minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the onion. Sweat the onion in the bacon fat until they begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and let it sweat for about a minute or two until it becomes nice and fragrant.
Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir until the fat and tomato paste are well combined. Turn the heat back up to medium and cook for a couple of minutes, until the tomato paste begins to “rust” a little bit. Now add the flour and stir to combine until the mixture is smooth. Let this mixture cook for a few minutes then add the Guinness to the pot. It may be best to do this rather slowly, or in increments in order to keep the mixture smooth. This is not unlike making a thin gravy. Once the beer is incorporated, add all other ingredients, including the reserved beef and bacon. The stock will go in last, just enough so that all of the ingredients are covered. Put a lid on it and let it simmer for about 2 hours.
After a couple of hours, remove the lid and cook until the sauce is reduced to the desired consistency and the beef is beginning to fall apart. This will take another 30-45 minutes. During this last phase of the process, make your favorite mashed potatoes and chop the parsley.
Pour the delicious stew over the creamed potatoes and sprinkle the fresh parsley on top. This will make enough for about six people, so invite your friends and family over to enjoy with you.