Sunday, October 21, 2007

Guinness Beef Stew with Mushrooms & Carrots

Last Sunday was dark and stormy here in Fort Lauderdale. My favorite team, the New England Patriots, was playing the 4:00 game against also-undefeated Dallas. I felt like having something to putter over in the kitchen. What else could possibly be as good as Guinness Beef Stew?

I’ve made a version of this before, and I thought it was on this blog. A little research told me that there was not in fact a Guinness stew entry here, and I couldn’t find a recipe I might have used in any of my cookbooks. Did I dream it? It doesn’t matter because I started from scratch, using a recipe in Cooking Light as a model, and came up with a recipe I really like.

You’re going to need about two and a half hours, start to finish. But it's nothing very strenuous, and then you can just sit back and wait for your house to smell great. I wanted to serve this with my beloved Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread, so I kept the stew on the slightly lighter side by not adding potatoes. Instead, I used a lot of mushrooms and carrots--more nutrition with less starch. If you want to use potatoes, just decrease the quantity of these two and go right ahead. You want to give the soda bread at least two hours to cool completely, so either make it before you start the stew, or do it the night before or in the morning. It’s a super-simple quick bread, and it makes your Irish-themed meal complete--especially with a sweet, unsalted Irish butter like Kerrygold.

My team won, and my stew was delicious. And knowing I’d have even more delicious leftovers during the week made it a perfect Sunday. If beef stew doesn't float your boat right now, take a look at my Curried Lamb and Lentil Stew or my Provencal Lamb Stew with White Wine.

Guinness Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Carrots
Of course Guinness is not the only kind of stout, but it’s the best and most readily available. I’ve been trying a lot of different brands of beef and chicken broth, and I think Swanson’s tastes the best. They make an organic version if you prefer. Fresh thyme is really nice here (for both stew and garnish), so don’t skip it if at all possible. Like all stews, this tastes great gently reheated in the next day or two.

Serves 6

2 to 3 tbs. canola oil, divided use
2 lb. button or cremini mushrooms, halved if large
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. dried thyme, divided
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, divided
2 cups chopped white or yellow onion
4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
All-purpose flour, for dredging meat
cayenne pepper or paprika
2 to 2 1/2 lb. lean beef stew meat (or sirloin), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Guinness draft can (or one bottle)
32 oz. low-sodium beef broth (I like Swanson’s)
2 dried bay leaves
4 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Fresh thyme sprigs for serving (optional)

Heat 1/2 tbs. oil in a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms, season with salt, pepper, half the thyme and rosemary, and cook until soft and browned. The mushrooms will release their water after a few minutes. Keep cooking, stirring often, until the water evaporates, even if they already look done to you. Remove mushrooms to a large bowl and repeat with remaining mushrooms.

Heat 1/2 tbs. oil in the pot and add the onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for two more minutes, stirring often. Add to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Add about 1/2 cup flour to a shallow bowl or plate and season with salt, pepper and cayenne or paprika. Coat the meat with flour, shaking off excess, and placing the pieces of meat on a baking sheet as you go. Heat 1/2 tbs. oil in the pot to medium-high heat. Add half the beef, season with more salt and pepper, and cook for about 6 minutes, using tongs to turn the meat and brown on all sides. Transfer meat and any juices to plate or bowl. Repeat with remaining meat.

Add Guinness to the pot, scraping up an brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add broth, bay leaves, and all the beef with its juices. Cover, and as soon as the stew begins to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Cook for 1 hour.

Add the carrots, thyme leaves, and the mushroom mixture to the stew. Simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Check the carrots; if they are not tender yet, continue cooking. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, garnish with thyme sprigs and serve.

There's a lot of tasty stuff stewing on my favorite food blogs:

Jumbo Empanada's Venison Stew a la Bri
Orangette's Chicken Stew
The Perfect Pantry's Root Vegetables with Beef Stew
Simply Recipes' Short Rib Beef Stew with Ale
Kalyn's Kitchen's Mediterranean Beef Stew with Rosemary
Chocolate and Zucchini's Beef Stew with Root Vegetables
The Wednesday Chef's Jennifer McLagan's Aromotic Chinese Oxtail Stew

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Kalyn said...

This is how I love to cook, and I would make it your way too, without potatoes. Thanks for including my stew recipe too.

Lisa said...

That looks gorgeous, and it's right up my husband's alley. Must try it ASAP!

Charles said...

This looks and sounds absolutely amazing. I'm going to make this with one of the great stouts made here in Oregon. Thanks for the recipe. Wonderful site - congratulations!

rebekka said...

I'm not good at following recipes, but I've never made stew before and wanted to use Guinness so this seemed like a good one.
I did add some things including - bison, instead of beef, 1T of Worcestershire, 2T tomato paste, about 1T balsamic vinegar, 1lb potatoes (adjusting less mushroom and carrots), more garlic, fresh thyme.
Also, I didn't have Rosemary.
Anyway, it came out amazing!! My whole apartment smells soo good. Thanks!