If you like cooking and/or you’re following cooking sites/blogs/pages, then you certainly have noticed the flood of shamrock, chocolate and rainbow-coloured foods, with the occasional pot of gold thrown in (leprechaun is optional). That is because March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day (or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), the celebration of Ireland’s patron saint.
The celebration involves the wearing of green (shamrocks, clothing or accessories) and drinking plenty of Guinness… if you like it. If you don’t – I believe Guinness is an acquired taste -, then you can still cook or bake with it (Chocolate Guinness cake, anyone?).
I will take this opportunity to apologise to the Irish people, but I don’t like Guinness. I visited Dublin a few years ago, spent the weekend there (absolutely loved it, by the way!), tried Guinness … and didn’t like it. I don’t like beer in the first place, but Guinness is much bitterer than regular beer so I believe that either you have to be born liking it, or go to Guinness camp for training. Thankfully, there are plenty of great foods in Ireland.
Great, and often simple. Beef and Guinness stew (or Irish stew) is one of them. Many Irish American recipes I found use various ingredients, such as parsnips, tomato paste, sugar… But less is often more, so I stuck to a more classic recipe, which I hope you’ll like.
And before I go, here’s a little Irish blessing
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Adapted from Donal Skehan
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1kg / 2lbs lean shoulder of beef, cut into 2cm /1 inch chunks
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 150ml / ¾ cup beef stock
- 500ml / 2 cups / 16 fl. oz. Guinness
- Salt & pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 15g / 0.5 oz. dark chocolate (optional)
- 15g / 1 tbsp corn flour / corn starch (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once your oil is hot, brown the beef. Do it in 2 batches if you need to, to allow an even browning on all pieces. Set aside.
In the same pan, fry the onion, garlic, carrots and celery, about 3-5 minutes, before adding the meat back.
Pour in the stock, the Guinness, add the bay leaf and season to taste. Add the chocolate if you find it too bitter.
Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for about 1½ hours, or until the liquid has reduced. If the sauce isn’t thick enough, remove the meat and carrots from the pan using a slotted spoon. In a small bowl, mix a few tablespoons of sauce with 1 tablespoon corn flour, whisk until well combined and pour back into the sauce. Let boil for about 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened, then tip back the meat.
Serve with mashed potatoes.