Irish Stew

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On our honeymoon to Ireland, I picked up a couple of traditional Irish cookbooks and have been making this delicious and simple stew ever since. It's very easy to prepare and gets your house smelling so good, especially comforting on a cold or rainy day in winter. I know you'll enjoy it as much as my family has.

Irish Stew
about a pound of beef stew meat (found in your meat department or butcher)
1 medium-large white onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk (or 2 smaller ones), chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 can Boddington's or Guinness
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable or olive oil
couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
mashed potatoes - for garnish*

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a bowl, season the beef liberally with salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the beef until nice crust forms on all sides, but no need to completely cook through as meat will be returned back to stew later. Once browned, remove the beef onto a plate with slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium-low. Add a teaspoon of butter or oil and sautee the onion, celery and carrots until just beginning to get tender - about 5 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and combine well, so the vegetables get coated. Add the ale and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. The sauce will begin to thicken from the flour, so make sure there are no lumps (use a whisk if necessary). Add the beef broth and combine well. Add the bay leaf, thyme and beef back into the stew.

Cover with the lid and place in oven for about 2 - 2.5 hours to slowly stew. Give an occasional stir once an hour and to check on seasoning. Add water if too salty (salt will depend on the broth you're using), and add more salt or pepper to taste.

Once the vegetables and beef are fork tender and the sauce has thickened, take out of oven. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

How I serve it:
I take a bowl and spoon a good portion of mashed potatoes to the side of it. Then I ladle the stew right next to the poatoes so they can absorb the stew as well. This is how I had it in Ireland. Then I sprinkle the whole dish (potatoes too!) with finely chopped parsely.

Serve hot with a cold pint of Boddington's or Guinness and enjoy the comfort of Irish food.

*Michelle's Basic Mashed Potatoes
2 Russett potatoes, peeled and cubed 1-inch
cream or half n half

In a pot, place cut potatoes in cold water and set to boil. When water begins to boil, add a big pinch of salt. Boil potatoes about 25 -30 minutes or until potatoes are very fork tender. Remove and drain very well. Return the potatoes back to the pot they boiled in (now drained of water) and set on very low flame. Let any remaining water evaporate for 20 seconds, then begin mashing potatoes with fork or potato masher. Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter (to taste) and a good splash of cream - the more cream you add, the thinner the mashed potato, so do it to your liking. Stir well and serve hot.

1 comment:

A. McEscobar said...

I look forward to this meal every St. Patrick's Day, or for that matter any cold and wintry day (admittedly less of these in SoCal).