As the leaves change and autumn approaches I find myself craving warm hearty comfort foods. Nothing fits the bill better than a hearty stew full of delicious root vegetables and tender meat. So when I recently hosted a dinner night for friends my choice for the main dish was this gratifying Guinness Stew.
Guinness stout forms the base for your flavor pallet in this stew and it's rich deep roasted barley flavor is perfect for a comfort food dish. Add to that a rich beef broth and sweet carrots and parsnips and you are well on your way. You do need to be careful though because Guinness has a touch of bitterness that balances it's hearty richness and with cooking this can dominate so a touch of extra sweetness is necessary. You can adjust the spices to your taste but I have found the recipe below, my own compilation, to produce consistently delicious results!
Gratifying Guinness Stew
1 bottle of Guinness stout (1pint 6 oz)
3 lbs beef cubed (chuck roast or similar cut appropriate for stewing)
3 parsnips (about 2 lbs) chopped
4 medium carrots chopped
2 large yellow onions diced
4 ribs celery diced
2 cans of beef broth (14.5oz ea)
1 can diced tomato (14.5oz)
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp bay leaf crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4-1/3 cup flour (for thickening)
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Toss the cubed beef with some flour and add to the pan browning slightly on all sides. Remove meat from heat and deg-laze the pan with some of the beef broth or a small amount of the beer. Prepare all the vegetables and add to your slow cooker. Add the meat, seasonings and liquid but not the flour. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. In the last hour taste for seasoning and adjust as needed also add the flour slowly by sifting small amounts into the pot and stirring until you reach the desired consistency. ( I found just under a 1/4 cup of flour was enough and you do have to let it cook a bit before you can tell if it needs more so add with a light touch and be careful not to over do it.)
This dish is fantastic served with mashed potatoes, col cannon, yorkshire pudding soda bread or any other delightful starchy goodness you have on hand. Sometimes I put potatoes in it but I like having them mashed on the side a bit better because then you still have the chunky root veg in the stew but you can pour it over a nice bowl of buttery mashed potatoes for extra richness.