Slow Cooker Irish Beef & Guinness Stew

Irish Beef & Guinness Stew | Pinky's PantryIt’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. Even though we don’t have any Irish blood, I fix a big Irish dinner in honor of St. Patrick’s Day every year. We’re Catholic so I guess it’s not unusual for us to celebrate the saint’s feast day.

I always fix Corned Beef & Cabbage for the family on St. Patrick’s Day, even though I’ve since learned that it is not a traditional Irish dish. In fact, most Irish people have apparently never even tasted corned beef! But a couple of years ago I decided to break with tradition and try making something different. I’m not much of a beer drinker and Guinness tastes terribly bitter to me, but I’d always been intrigued by photos I’d seen of Irish beef and beer stews. They always look so delicious so I decided to take the bull by the horns (or the beer by the bottleneck) and try my hand at fixing my own Irish stew. Surprisingly, the family liked it! So I wrote my recipe down and here it is.

Serve the stew with roasted or mashed potatoes on the side.

SLOW COOKER IRISH BEEF & GUINNESS STEW

  • 3 lbs. boneless beef chuck
  • flour for coating meat
  • margarine for browning meat
  • 8 strips of bacon, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) Guinness stout
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 5 tbsp. tomato paste (about half a 6-oz. can)
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar, packed
  • ½ tsp. salt, more or less
  • ¼ tsp. pepper, more or less
  1. Cut the meat into 1½-inch cubes and coat each piece with flour.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté the bacon until it renders its fat and starts to crisp up.
  3. Add the garlic and onions to the bacon and continue to sauté until the onions start to turn translucent.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon-onion mixture to a slow cooker.
  5. Add 2 tbsp. margarine to the remaining bacon grease in the skillet and brown the beef cubes on all sides, a few pieces at a time, adding more margarine as needed.
  6. Transfer the browned beef cubes to the slow cooker with the bacon-onion mixture.
  7. Stir in the Guinness, carrots, beef broth, tomato paste and brown sugar.
  8. Season with the salt and pepper, adding more or less to your taste.
  9. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.

NOTE:   If desired, you could add button mushrooms to the dish.
              This recipe can be doubled for a crowd.

VARIATION:  You can make Individual Irish Stew Pies if you like. Just cook the stew following the recipe. Spoon some warm stew into ramekins or individual gratin dishes. Cut out a piece of ready-made puff pastry a little larger than the dish you’re using and drape it over the top of the dish leaving a ½ to 1-inch overhang. Brush the puff pastry with a little egg wash (1 egg beaten plus 1 tablespoon of water). Bake at 400º F for about 15 minutes or until pastry crust is golden brown.

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