I feel compelled to get my final tastes of Winter under my belt. The cold days are perfect matches for braising meats, chowders and simmering soups.
This time of the year, I revel in the thought of a warm hearty dinner that’s not too complicated. Winter stews are my perfect canvas for putting together some of my favorite ingredients, cooking them up, and transforming them into thick and rich savory blends of meat and vegetables. The bubbling pot warms my kitchen and even my house while the aromas whet my appetite for something good to come.
Since the up and coming month of March gives us the opportunity to celebrate the land of the Emerald Isle, nothing could be more appropriate than Irish Beef Stew. Now I’m no Dubliner, but beef stew made with Guinness and red wine are the perfect combinations to bring a little Irish luck into my life.
Personally, one of the best things about winter stews is the variety of root vegetables abundant this time of year. Peppery parsnips, crunchy carrots and potatoes in many sizes and colors are just a few of the choices available.
If a rustic looking winter stew is what you desire, dice your root vegetables into asymmetrical pieces. The variability in size and shape will give your meal a lot of visual appeal.
Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1-1/4 pounds beef stew meat. Sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add 7 large garlic cloves and sauté another minute.
Add 6 cups beef stock, 1 cup red wine, 1 cup Guinness beer, 3 Tablespoons tomato paste, 1-1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tablespoon dried thyme and 4 bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2-1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.
In another large pot, melt 2 Tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add potatoes, parsnips, onion and carrots, sautéing until golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside until the stew has simmered 2-1/2 hours.
Add vegetables to beef stew and simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon cold water until combined. Add slowly to the stew stirring for I minute until thickened. Discard bay leaves and remove any fat that may have accumulated on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.
This can be easily prepared in advance and kept refrigerated for up to three days.
Beef Irish Stew