It’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
- Cut the meat into 1½-inch cubes and coat each piece with flour.
- In a large skillet, sauté the bacon until it renders its fat and starts to crisp up.
- Add the garlic and onions to the bacon and continue to sauté until the onions start to turn translucent.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon-onion mixture to a slow cooker.
- 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.
- Transfer the browned beef cubes to the slow cooker with the bacon-onion mixture.
- Stir in the Guinness, carrots, beef broth, tomato paste and brown sugar.
- Season with the salt and pepper, adding more or less to your taste.
- 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.