Your house will smell like heaven when you make this stew. Comforting, hearty and full of deep flavor, it feeds a lot of hungry people as well.
Using Canadian bacon is the closest thing we have to real Irish bacon. Try and get a nice smoked variety, it really amps up the flavor of this stew.
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 pounds smoked Canadian bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped in 2-inch chunks
2 stalks celery, diced small
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 can (14.9 oz.) Guinness stout
2 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6–8 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string (or 1 teaspoon dry)
1 bay leaf
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Be sure the oven rack will fit the dutch oven or whatever pan you are using with lid, if not, lower to fit.
Over medium-high heat, heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large dutch and brown half of the beef (season with salt and pepper), remove to a plate (or lid of the dutch oven, save some clean-up) and repeat with remaining beef, don’t overcrowd the pan, or your meat will steam, not brown. Don’t touch it once it’s in the pan If it’s sticking to the pan, leave it, it’s not ready to turn. Brown equals flavor, patience grasshopper.
Add the bacon to the pan and sauté for about 3 minutes, get some nice brown edges on that bacon, remove to plate/lid with beef. To the hot pan, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the onion, carrots and celery and saute (season with a few pinches of salt) for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir around and cook for about 2 minutes. Return the beef and bacon to the pan along with the garlic.
Add the herbs, pour in the stock and Guinness, pop in a bay leaf and season to taste. Cover and put it in the oven for 1-1/2 hours until meat is tender and the liquid has reduced. If the sauce isn’t thick enough for your tastes, remove the lid and simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes. If it’s still not thick enough, mix a little of the sauce with the 2 teaspoons of flour whisk into the pan. Serve with mashed, boiled potatoes, champ (another Irish potato dish) or Irish Soda Bread.
Note: cooking the tomato paste on the direct heat helps to develop depth of flavor, and rich color to the stew.
Season as you go.
If you are worried about to much salt, measure out the amount called for in a recipe. Put it in a small container, use pinches of it as you add ingredients to the pot. I find, I don’t even use as much as the recipe calls for by doing it this way. When you season as you cook, every component gets seasoned, if you wait until the end, it just tastes like salt.
Remember, if you prepare most of your meals at home, using fresh ingredients, you shouldn’t have to be too concerned with sodium. 70% of the sodium we ingest comes from packaged foods and restaurant meals. That’s a lot. So cook at home, and season as you go! (btw, it’s true, the internet told me)
Keywords: Guinness Beef Stew, easy, gluten-free, slow-simmer, oven simmer, Irish beef stew, Irish stew, traditional irish stew
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