Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CrockPot Guinness Beef Stew

A delicious savory stew that is wonderfully complemented by my Irish Soda Bread.

2 pounds beef stew meat. Usually you can find it already cut into pieces and trimmed of fat. If not, be sure to trim the fat so it doesn't end up in the stew. (Note to Kate, lol)

1/4 cup of flour to dredge beef in.

salt and pepper to season flour

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large sweet onion, diced

2 large shallots

2 large parsnips

2 large carrots or 8 oz peeled and washed baby carrots

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups draft Guinness beer (Use Guinness Stout only!)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon thyme

3 bay leaves

1 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 pound red potatoes, quartered

2/3 cup flour (to thicken the sauce)

Heat oil in large skillet until almost smoking. Dredge beef chunks in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and add to hot oil, brown thoroughly on both sides until very brown. (5 minutes per side) Toss into crockpot, and repeat with remaining beef.

Now, you see that pan with all the little bits of browned meat stuck to it. Those are some mighty tasty bits and I would suggest you add that to the stew. Do you know what they are called?

Fond. Yes those bits of leftover crisp tasty meat are called fond. Did you know that? I didn't either.

Anyway, take about a half a cup of the chicken broth and pour it into the hot pan, bring to a quick boil and scrape the pan thoroughly to loosen the fond and the flour left in the pan. Toss into the crockpot, right on top of the browned beef.

Now, peel and chop up the turnips, carrots (unless you bought the baby ones like I do for convenience) and potatoes and add to crockpot.

Dice onions, no need to be finely diced, nice chunks of onion are good, and the same goes for the shallots. They'll separate during cooking anyway.

(Isn't this a purty picture? I just took it 'cause the veggies looked all colorful and stuff.....I never used to even THINK about this crap, much less photograph it until I started blogging ..........UGH!)

Add the seasonings (and bay leaves, don't forget) and sugar and chocolate. The reason we put chocolate in this recipe is for sweetness and to help offset the tartness of the beer. Believe me, together, they are an awesome combination.

Now pour the chicken broth over the top of everything in the crockpot. Then pour 3/4 of the Guinness into the crockpot. You want to reserve the last of the Guinness to add at the end when mixed with the flour. This will thicken the sauce a bit as well as add fresh Guinness taste to the stew after cooking for so long.

Now, put the top on the crockpot and only stir once or twice during the next few hours. I frankly cook it on HIGH for two hours or three hours and then turn it down and cook on low for eight more hours. Truth be told, I'm forever tasting it, and testing it, and stirring it, but I know this makes it take longer to cook. But seriously, it may take 12 hours of cooking before it's ready.

You'll know it's done when it's DARK brown, and all the vegetables are tender.

NOW, and this is critical, the soup needs to be salted and peppered. Pepper, no problem...you like a lot of pepper, add a lot of pepper, you not so much like pepper, don't pepper to much.

Ah, but the salt, here's the problem. It's EASY to cook something delicious for 12 f'ing hours and oversalt it. Believe me, I've DONE it!

Here's why, we taste it, at the end of the cooking cycle, and it will taste bland and obviously needs salt. So pour about a teaspoon of salt into it. But here's what a lot of people do. They wait about 5 - 10 minutes, taste it again, and it's still bland, so they salt it again, and later do the same thing, and on and on.

The fact is, once you salt, it takes about 20 minutes for the salt to completely melt, and stirring, to totally distribute the taste so you have an accurate measure. You see what I'm saying?

Err on taking your time when salting....let it cook for 20 minutes, stir, and taste again.

Actually, sometimes I just salt the soup when serving.....

Anyway, sorry to go on and on, but I've done it and KNOW better.....

Salting it would be a good time to also mix the flour thoroughly into the remaining beer and pour it into the crockpot. (btw, flour mixes with a liquid a lot easier when it is added first, and the liquid poured onto it, instead of the other way around)

Anyway, cook on high again for like 20 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. And turn it off, and let it sit.

And if you're like me, you've smelled the stuff cooking for 12 hours, tasted it numerous times, tested it, eaten a couple potatoes and turnips as it neared completion, and by the time it's done, the LAST thing you feel like eating is Guiness Beef Stew! That's OK, that's normal. It's better on days 2 and 3 and 4 anyway.......! LOL After the flavors blend, and it cools down and chills....man, this is worth making.


Man this stuff is good. It's not JUST the Guinness, it's the slow cooking of all the spices, and sugar, and root vegetables, and all their goodness, and the essence of the beef.....Totally, one of my favorite crockpot recipes..... Did I just SAY totally? God I'm so like my kids....

Sup Gee?


Really, do try it.....I think you'll like it..... Leave a comment if you do, that's all I ask.


Velle said...

I'm trying this out tomorrow night, just for fun! Will let you know how this turns out.

Shayne said...

wow this looks great and I love stew but made this was looks even better then traditional.

Hilary said...

This is so easy and such a delicious stew! Thanks for posting the recipe!

LMB said...

Made it this morning--eating it now. Very good. When I salted and added the flour to thicken, I also added 1.5 cups of frozen peas. When I ate it in Ireland it had peas too. It's a nice addition. Thanks for the recipe.

Rebecca said...

I didn't have parsnips so just used extra carrots and didn't have red so used yukon gold potatoes. I added rosemary, won't do that next time. Mine is pretty bitter, but seems to be lessening as it sits. It just got done. Maybe I used the wrong kind of Guiness, I used the kind in the bottles b/c that's all I could find at the grocery store and with two little ones in tow, I just bought what they had. This was a test batch for our St. Patty's day party next weekend so I'll see if I can follow your recipe closer for next week.

Rebecca said...

Amazing, brilliant stew recipe, I followed it to the letter this time and it was delicious. We made one batch that I thickened at the end with just beef broth and flour (for the kids) and that turned out just as good, a little sweeter. Thanks for a great recipe.

Anonymous said...

Your Guiness stew recipe is delicious. My Irish husband loves it and has been telling everyone about it. I've made it several times now and it's always a hit.

I've tried a few of your recipes and they've all worked out well! Thanks a mil!

Lisa said...

I made this recipe and loved it. I enjoy the step by step instructions. Fool proof. I am very excited to try other recipes!! Thanks so much.

Nihil Nusquam said...

Love it. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, why chicken broth for a beef recipe?

The Merlin Menu said...

You could certainly use Beef Broth if you so desire. I use Chicken Broth because you already have a large amount of been you are cooking and you are adding Guinness to it. Sometimes, the cut of beef, along with Guinness and Beef Broth is a different taste than what I like. Therefore I use Chicken Broth so it's contributory instead of overwhelming. It allows the Guinness to really shine.

Linda said...

I will be making this recipe for the 3rd time this weekend (perfect fall weather for it). It's so darn good! I've made it when my fiance's nephew visits and he's also a huge fan and requests it when he comes to visit!

StevenF said...

This recipe looks great! I'm not sure if you still monitor comments here, but I'm making this tomorrow (Monday) for co-workers on Tuesday at lunch. Would I be able to start this on Monday morning, cook it all day, and then keep on Low or Warm in the crock-pot overnight to take in on Tuesday? Or will this over-cook the meat? Thanks for the great recipe!!

The Merlin Menu said...

You could do that, and it should be just fine but my question is, why not start cooking it Monday night and let it cook all night?

StevenF said...

Thanks for responding!! As to not waiting until Monday night - it's mainly because I want to be able to sample it before taking it in. It looks too good to not eat some before sharing! :)

Anonymous said...

So I tried out your recipe-i'm new to the slow cooker world so hopefully I didn't make too much of a bags job of it! I put it on high for 5 hours and then low for about an hour and it all seems to cook through properly! I had a question though..when I mixed the flour and Guinness together, it made a doughy like texture that would not liquidate..is that how it was supposed to be? I went ahead and dumped it in the soup but i'm questioning the consistency of it?


The Merlin Menu said...

When you add the flour to the Guinness you need to whisk it thoroughly. If you don't have a whisk, just use a fork. It'll smooth out after a few minutes and thicken just fine.