Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Beef Stew

In honor of the holiday, I made a lovely beef stew with Guinness yesterday for Mr Wonderful to take to his potluck party at work today. The worst part about it is that I don't get to have any! This holiday-appropriate veggie-laden stew will be my contribution to Sweetnicks' ARF/5-a-day roundup this week.

Irish Beef Stew
1/4 c EVOO
1 onion, diced fairly large
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, chopped into large chunks
2 huge russet potatoes, cut into 2" dice
1 1/4 lb beef stew meat, cut into about 2" dice
1/2 c flour, divided
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 bottle Guinness beer
4 c beef stock
1 bay leaf
4 Tbsp butter (half stick)
salt & pepper

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and potatoes. Season well with salt & pepper. Saute for a few minutes to give the veggies color (they will be very, very undercooked), and then remove from the pot. Salt & pepper the beef and shake it in a ziploc bag filled with 1/4 c of the flour, until the meat is all coated. Saute the meat in batches, until it's lightly browned on all sides. When the meat is all browned, return everything to the pot (including veggies), and add the thyme and Guinness. Scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the browned bits up while the alcohol cooks out, then add in the beef stock and the bay leaf. Raise the heat, bringing the stew to a simmer, then reduce back to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are done. If the stew hasn't thickened enough, you can make a quick roux to thicken it (I needed to do this): melt the half-stick of butter in a pan, then add a 1/4 c of flour. Let the mixture cook for a minute or two, then add the roux, a spoonful at a time, to the stew and stir well to combine. Let the mixture bubble away for a few minutes before you add more of the roux - it takes a few minutes to thicken up. (I only needed to add about half of the roux mixture to get my stew to the right consistency.)

Serve with Irish soda bread or some other nice fresh, dense, crusty bread.

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