This recipe for Irish Beef and Guinness Stew is a mainstay for Saint Patrick’s Day and throughout the winter. It’s made in the slow cooker, so there is an added benefit of the aroma floating around the house all day. There is some cooking of the beef and bacon in advance, and the rest of the ingredients just get thrown into the slow cooker. Over time, the flavours blend together beautifully as they simmer slowly throughout the day. The stew can be served with mashed potatoes or a few slices of Irish brown soda bread.
Eating this stew reminds me of chilly days visiting Dublin. During those visits, it was such a treat to find a tasty Irish stew in a cosy pub. If my memory serves me correctly, the stew was usually served with soda bread and butter, rather than mashed potatoes. And there can be some other variations such as lamb instead of beef. However, at home you can go with your preferences and tastes.
200 g lardons (or bacon cut into small pieces)
750 g beef (good quality and trimmed of fat and gristle, I used topside), cut into chunks
2 onions, chopped into large chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
750 g carrot, chopped into chunks
300g mushrooms, cut into quarters or smaller chunks
4 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
1 vegetable broth stock cube
500ml bottle of Guinness stout
3 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
In a frying pan, fry the lardons (or bacon) until crispy. Add in the chunks of beef and cook until brown. Put the lardons and beef into the slow cooker. Add the chopped onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, herbs, stock cube, passata, and Guinness. Turn the slow cooker onto high for a couple of hours then reduce to low for 2 hours or more.
In the last hour of cooking, add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the flour with a few Tbsp water until it forms a smooth, liquid paste, then mix into the stew. Cook for one more hour. If the stew seems too thin, you can keep the lid off.
Serve hot with mashed potato or soda bread
Note: If you don’t want to pick out the herbs later, you can tie them together in a bundle with cooking string
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