Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In My Kitchen: Beef and Guinness Stew

I tackled another travel-inspired recipe this week that I'm thrilled to share with you. This recipe for Beef and Guinness Stew was sent to me by a new friend of mine, Amy Lynch. I met Amy on the Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau holiday tour that I've written a little about (here and here). Amy has a great food-focused blog, called Amy's Adventures in Food. Her culinary prowess is really impressive (as is her writing), and I know I have a lot to learn from her. Her husband is Irish, and she is well-traveled around Europe.

My husband spent one semester in college living in Dublin and attending University College Dublin. I was lucky enough to spend about 10 days my senior year visiting him there. I fell in love with the beautiful scenery, the friendly people, and just the overall spirit of this country (my husband was already head over heels in love, having had a 3 month head start on me). There's not a doubt in my mind we'll return there, hopefully soon and hopefully often. Much like the time we spent there together in college, I envision long walks and bike rides through the lush, green countryside, followed by hours spent sitting in charming pubs, listening to live music, sipping pints of beer. And this is just the type of dish they'd serve me up in my Irish dreams.

Since much of the country, including my home, has been buried in snow the past few weeks, let me assure you that there's never been a better moment to whip up this delicious stew. Thanks so much, Amy!

2 lbs lean stew beef
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of cayenne
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 1/2 to 2 pints Guinness
3 or 4 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
1 cup fresh button mushrooms, halved
1/2 tsp thyme

Toss the meat in a bowl with 1 tbsp. oil, then sprinkle the seasoned flour mixture over the meat and toss to coat with the flour.

All ready to go in the pot!

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large stewing pot over high heat. Brown the meat well on all sides. Add the onions, garlic and tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, mushrooms and thyme, then pour in enough Guinness to cover everything. Stir well, gently scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover the pot and simmer gently for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender. Salt and pepper the stew to taste.

In goes the Guinness!
Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes and a hearty bread to sop up the gravy. (This is also great to make in a crock pot-just throw everything in and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours).

This was the perfect recipe for me, because I could prepare it while the arrow napped in the afternoon, and then just had to stir every once in a while as we waited for dad to get home from work. The best part about this recipe was the smell. I texted my husband around 4 p.m. with this: "It smells like Ireland in here."  Now that's traveling from your very own kitchen.

Steamy goodness on a cold, snowy day.

This post is a part of Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.