I am a huge fan of beef stew. There’s something just so comforting about it! How big of a fan am I? Well, I recently made two beef stews in one weekend. One stew I made on Friday night, and the other on Sunday morning. Here’s how it happened.
Someone I was dating at the time also loved beef stew and wanted to learn how to make it. So, for one of our dates I loaded up all of the beef stew ingredients, went to his house, and we made beef stew together. The stew I taught him to make is a simple Irish stew using stout beer. Here is the recipe! I’m telling you, it is so simple! The hardest part is waiting for it to finish cooking!
Irish Beef Stew
- 1.5-2 lbs. beef roast (chuck, round, or sirloin) cubed into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 onions chopped
- 4 carrots chopped
- 3 medium potatoes chopped
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 can Guinness beer (or other stout beer)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- Heat oil in a large soup pot or large saucepan.
- Season the flour and toss the cubed meat with the seasoned flour.
- Brown the meat in the soup pot, working in batches if needed. When the meat is brown, remove it from the pot, and set it aside on a plate.
- In the same pot, add the onions. Saute them until they are softened. Add any flour remaining from coating the meat, and cook for another minute or two to cook off any raw flour taste.
- Add the chopped carrots, and potatoes to the pot, along with the beer, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits that have accumulated (the fond).
- Return the meat to the pot, and add the brown sugar, vinegar, and bay leaves.
- Add enough water to just cover the ingredients (about 2 cups).
- Bring the pot to a simmer and then cover and simmer for about 1 hour, or until ether carrots, potatoes, and meat are fork tender. Stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Add more liquid if necessary as it cooks so that the stew maintains your desired stew consistency.
The second stew I made that weekend was for my roommate and my sister. It also happened to be my grandma’s stew recipe for the family cookbook I am writing. When my sister walked into the house, she said “it smells like Granny’s stew”. Which I felt was a great compliment. Then, when she tasted it, she said she actually liked it better than Granny’s stew (but we won’t tell Granny).
Now, as you can see, my grandma’s recipe didn’t have any instructions or measurements for ingredients, so it was a bit of experimentation to figure out the proper measurements for the cookbook. Which is another reason I think my sisters words meant so much, because they meant the experiment was a success!
I think one thing that I like about beef stew is that it is so versatile. You can have an Irish-style stew with Guinness or stout beer, or use red wine so that it has a beef burginion flavor to it. Or, like my grandma, you can use no alcohol and flavor the stew with steak sauce, tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce. You can also modify the vegetables to your liking or based on what is on hand. It can be as simple as carrots and potatoes. Or you can add other vegetables to the mix like cabbage or peas. It’s this versatility that makes two different beef stews in one weekend not boring. Each stew can have its own personality!
As the winter weather continues, try to make a simple and comforting beef stew! You and your family/friends will be very happy hibernating inside with the smells of beef stew coming from the stove.