Irish Recipes: Guinness Stew and Brown Bread
It's a cold, rainy, blustery fall day here in Michigan. Immediately, my thoughts turn to warm, comforting Irish recipes. Yes, I remember many cold rainy days in County Kerry, and eating the best Guinness Beef Stew, accompanied by that lovely classic Irish Brown Bread. Here are two recipes that I love to make. They remind me of being in Ireland - and of warming up, and eating well!
Cold rainy fall day on our lake
Guinness Beef Stew
Adapted from Chef Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cooking School - County Cork, Ireland
2 pounds of lean beef stew meat. I like to buy a slab and cut it myself into smaller chunks than the butcher prepares. Be sure to trim off the fat.
2 T vegetable oil
2 T flour
salt and pepper
2 sweet onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 t of tomato paste (optional)
one bottle of Guinness beer
around 2 # of carrots, cut into manageable (edible) chunks
a few sprigs of thyme (or 1 t dried thyme)
Toss the beef cubes with 1 T oil. Mix the flour and salt and pepper, and then sprinkle onto the meat.
Heat 1 T oil (or bacon fat, if you have it on hand) in a large dutch oven on Medium High. When it is hot, put in half the meat and brown on all sides. Remove that first batch, and brown the second batch of meat. You don't want to crowd the meat - it won't cook right that way. If you have to do it in even more batches, that's fine. Also, having a sticky brown layer on the bottom of the pot is a GOOD THING.
After you've browned the beef, add the already cooked beef, onions, garlic, and (optional) tomato paste into the pan. Put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes or so. Now, take all that out of the pan and add 1/2 bottle of Guinness Beer to the pan. Cook on Medium heat for 5 minutes or so, scraping the bottom of the pan. This is deglazing and provides all the flavor for the stew! When the bottom of the pan is scraped clean, add back in the meat mixture, the carrots, thyme, and the rest of the bottle of Guinness. If it's gone (who drank that?!), open another bottle and put half in. Put the lid on, pop it into a 300 degree oven, and let it cook for 2-3 hours, until the meat is tender. Stir every hour or so.
Bonus: This tastes BETTER the next day. I've not been able to wait, though. So our leftovers are even more delicious than the first day.
Serve, steaming in warm bowls on a cold blustery day, accompanied by thick slices of Brown Bread.
Irish Brown Bread
1 c all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T cold butter
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 c rolled oats
1.5 c plain yogurt
Mix the drys in a large bowl. Add in the cold butter and work it with your fingers so that it forms pea-sized crumbs. Add in the flour and oats, stir. Dump in the yogurt and mix with a spatula, scraping quickly and efficiently to work the dough together. You might have to add a tablespoon of milk, but I never have. You don't want to overwork it. When there is no dry flour, give it a few kneads in the bowl.
You can bake it in a circle, on a baking sheet, or in a large loaf pan (which is what I prefer). Bake for 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool on a rack. Serve with fresh butter (Kerrygold, if you can get it!) warm or cold. If any is left over, it makes fantastic toast for breakfast. Extra points if you've got Chiver's marmalade or black currant jam to spread on top.
Irish Brown Bread and Guinness Stew
What are your favorite Irish Recipes? Please share!