This Irish-inspired Guinness beef stew is the ultimate cold-weather comfort food. After a couple of hours of simmering in medium-low heat, the meat becomes melting tender all covered with a thick flavorful beer sauce.
After you came from a long walk or a marathon for the chilly Saint Patrick's day or it happens that you're in the middle of a cold winter and you decide to go for a walk on a snowy day; the chattering teeth and shivering limbs will not be simply eased away as soon as you enter your front door, instead, a bowl of hot and warming beef stew will chase the chill away.
There are different variations of beef stew around the world. Famous examples include France's Boeuf Bourgignon (recipe to come) which is simmered in wine and Hungary's Goulash which is generously seasoned with paprika.
Now, as we join the world to celebrate Saint Patrick's day, let's meet Guinness beef stew, an iconic Ireland version of beef stew.
After all, those waiting and simmering for hours before you have a ladle of this beef stew in your bowl, you want nothing to go to waste. This no-knead artisan bread is perfect to mop up all the bits and pieces left in your bowl. Should you want to muscle up and do an extra elbow grease that will also stand for you side by side with Guinness beef stew in your bowl, this long loaf bread recipe is all worth every darn effort.
What is Irish stew?
It was traditionally made of mutton or lamb, but here in Canada/America, it is not often made with easy-to-find Beef. Either these three types of meat will make a tasty and hearty Irish beef stew. Adding other different types of vegetables of your choice other than potatoes will definitely make a delicious Irish beef stew, a little taste of Ireland.
What sets Irish beef stew different from others is its inclusion of Guinness stout beer. Thus the name - Guinness beef stew!
What type of beer used in Guinness beef stew?
The not-so-secret ingredient is Guinness stout beer is a rich, creamy, velvety in it finish that tastes malty sweetness with a hint of bitterness and smells like a very faint coffee and chocolate - that provides an incredibly rich and deep flavour Irish beef stew.
By the way, do you want to feel cool? Open another beer, pour in your glass, sniff the malt that feels like breaking through your nose, feel the creaminess as soon as your lips touch the white bubbles floating atop. As you reach the deep, dark part- it is velvety with a hint of sweetness and bitterness. You might have a better way to describe it after a good glass of drinking. Sláinte!
What is the best cut for beef stew?
There is no such thing as stewing beef cut, although, some grocery stores and butcher shops carry a package of pre-cut meat labelled "stewing beef", but then, some of the pieces might have come from different primal cuts of beef.
The least expensive tough cut of meat that comes from the front shoulder called "chuck" and also the "round" beef cut from the rear leg of the cow are definitely the best to make this Irish-inspired Guinness beef stew, although I like better the chuck beef because of its nicely marbled fat and contains more connective tissue, period!
Why tough cuts works better for beef stew?
This Guinness beef stew recipe asks for a well-worked muscle because it has a lot of connective tissue. As it cooks in slow and long-simmering, the connective tissue will melt into the meat and releases gelatin responsible for that ultimate beautiful body with a delicious and rich mouth-feel, while the meat will be perfectly melt-in-your-mouth tender.
"Tender cuts of meat, like ribeye or beef tenderloin, are better for grilling or braising on a stovetop on medium-high heat for short periods of time. Because they are already soft, cooking tender cuts for long periods of time will dry out the meat and make it too chewy."- Master class article, tough vs tender beef
Now that you know the secret of making the best Guinness beef stew, Here's the round-up of ingredients you will need.
- Chunky sliced chuck beef
- Butter or olive oil
- Guinness stout beer
- Bay leaves
- Black peppercorns
- Worcestershire sauce
- Chicken stock (preferably home made) or beef stock,
- Sea salt
- Brown sugar
- Chunky sliced potatoes
- Thickly sliced cabbage
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to make Guinness beef stew?
This Guinness beef stew recipe shows you truly a little taste of Ireland.
- Sear: After you slice the whole chuck beef into chunky hunky pieces against the grain, toss the flour until the meat are all coated (shake to remove extra flour). Melt the butter in the hot pot and sear all sides of the beef until nicely brown and crusty. Transfer the seared beef in a plate and sear the rest fo the meat.
Sweat the onions, celery and carrots until softened a little and smells fragrant over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Pour the beer, add all the dried herbs and peppercorns. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the fond- the sticky brown glaze that was developed when searing the beef. Bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt and sugar. When it reaches boiling point, put the lid on slightly ajar and lower the heat to medium-low heat.
Let it simmer for an hour and 30 minutes, stirring once in a while to release anything that's sticking at the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes, scatter the chopped parsley stems and then place the cabbage on top. Put back the lid on and seal to cover and simmer for another 30-45 minutes scraping the bottom of the pan once and a while.
4. Finishing touch
Meat should be tender but not falling apart, potatoes and cabbage are fork-tender, gently remove the cabbage and transfer to a plate. Add celery leaves and parsley leaves (leaving some for garnish), stir and cook for a few minutes.
Scatter the remaining parsley and serve with the cabbage alongside a nice crusty bread to dip and clean your plate.
Hint: Celery leaves are edible and nutritious that's why there's no reason to discard them. If you think it's too watery, let it boil for a few minutes to evaporate the liquid or mashed some of the potatoes to thicken. If you find it too thick, add some stock or water to thin it out according to your likeness.
I like thick as it envelops the meat and vegetables.
for any reason, you can't find Guinness beer, a dark ale, a stout or a porter are ideal for a beef stew.
Don't limit yourself to vegetables, turnip, parsnips and squash are a great addition to this Guinness beef stew.
They always say any beef stew tastes better the next day. If you decide you want to make this Guinness beef stew in advance, let it cool completely and then store it in the fridge for 3- 5 days.
If you plan to make this stew and freeze it, don't add potatoes. (frozen potatoes will become soft and grainy)
Cooked cabbage should be stored in a separate container when freezing.
Beef stew can be overcooked and you will end up with dry, pulpy meat and mushy vegetables. The sweet spot is between 2-3 hours.
Irish Inspired guinness beef stew
- 2 quarts lidded casserole or medium-size saucepan
- 2 pounds chuck beef roast, sliced into 2-inch cube
- ½ cup flour
- 1 large cooking onion (coarsely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 long celery ribs (coarsely sliced)
- 3 medium carrots (washed and chunky sliced)
- 7 stems parsley leaves and stems chopped and separated
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 473 ml Guinness dry stout beer
- 3 cups chicken stock or beef stock
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the beef on a large mixing plate and add and toss the flour just to coat the meat, shake off any excess meat.
- Place the pan over medium heat. Once heated, add the beef and sear until the sides are nicely brown. Do not overcrowd, repeat until you sear all the meat, transfer to another plate.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan followed by the onion, celery and carrots. Sautee the vegetables until it smells fragrant about 3 minutes. Return the seared beef into the pan, add the garlic and stir. Add the beer, chicken stock or beef stock, all the dried herbs, salt and sugar. Scraping the bottom of the pan to remove all the bits and pieces.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches the boiling point, bring down the heat to medium-low. Put the lid on slightly ajar and let it simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes stirring once in a while. Add the potatoes and parsley stems and stir. Place the sliced cabbage on top, put the lid back, sealed and cook for another until the potatoes and cabbage are soft and tender to fork.
- Gently remove the cooked cabbage to a separate dish. Fish out the bay leaf and discard. Add the celery leaves and chopped parsley leaves (saving some for garnish) and stir, cook for a couple of minutes.
- Serve alongside the cabbage garnished with parsley.
- If you think the sauce is too thick or you prefer a soupy liquid, add more chicken stock or water to thin it out.
- Parsnips, turnips or squash are a great alternative to add to the stew.
- Dark ale or porter to substitute Guinness stout beer.
- Use 2 tablespoon soy sauce + 1 tablespoon ketchup if Worcestershire sauce is not available.