Beef and Guinness Stew
I have no idea if my recipe is traditionally Irish, so I’m going to refrain from calling it an Irish Beef and Guinness Stew.
I had a few bottles of Guinness in the fridge and since finding out that I have gout, I’ve stayed away from drinking Guinness as it really aggravates it. But then I had the brilliant (but not at all original) idea to use it in a stew. The alcohol is cooked off so no gout for me and I can still enjoy the flavour! So the recipe below is what I did.
I’ve made this a good few times now and it has quickly become a family favourite. The first time I cooked it, it was gone within two days! My three brothers absolutely demolished it. I gave my Granddad some and he loved it, funnily enough he said it reminded him of the flavours in Vietnamese cooking . . . I’m thinking he’s comparing it to Vietnamese Curry, which has a pretty similar ingredient list except it’s a curry. I do understand what he’s saying though. The flavours are clean, the food is simple, wholesome and just delicious.
I’ve included my Instagram story of when I first cooked this, if a video format is easier for you to follow or if you need clarification on any of the steps.
serves 6-10 (depends on your serving size)
2 kg Beef Brisket
200g Streaky Bacon
3 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
1 Big Yellow Onion, finely diced
1 Large Carrot, finely diced
4 Medium Carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Celery Sticks, finely diced
4 Medium White Waxy Potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup Tomato Paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1L Chicken Stock
375ml Guinness Extra Stout
2 tsp Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
3 tbsp Plain Flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
This recipe requires a lot of prep so we’ll get it all out of the way first, so that the cooking process can be more streamlined. So first prep all your vegetables and set them aside.
Finely dice the onion, the large carrot and celery sticks —this is a Mirepoix 2:1:1 ratio respectively.
Mince the garlic cloves
Peel the remain carrots and potatoes, and cut into 1 inch pieces
Dice the streaky bacon and set aside.
Cut the beef brisket into bite-sized pieces, place into a mixing bowl —make sure you are cutting against the grain so that your meat will be tender. Season it with salt and pepper and add the flour. Give it a good mix so that everything is coated. Set aside.
Now that all of the prep is done. Heat up a large heavy based pot, on medium high heat.
When the pot is heated up, add in the bacon. The aim here is to cook the bacon until it’s brown and crispy for it to release all of its fat. Once the bacon is done cooking, remove the bacon from the pot into a bowl for later, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.
Use the bacon fat to seal the beef. Cooking in batches, generously brown the meat. Don’t overcrowd the pot otherwise the beef will not brown properly. Once the beef is sealed place with the bacon and set aside.
To the same pot add the finely diced onions, carrots, celery, the bay leaves and thyme. Let the vegetables sweat down for 5 minutes, stirring when needed. Then add the garlic and let it cook for a few minutes.
Turn the heat up on high and with the Guinness deglaze the pot, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot. This is flavour! Make sure that the Guinness has come to a rapid boil and let it cook off for 5 minutes. This ensures that the stew will not be bitter.
Add the Worcestershire sauce and the tomato paste, stir until the tomato paste is all incorporated. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the tomato paste to cook off.
Add the chicken stock, beef and bacon. Give it a stir, place the lid on and once it’s boiling turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 2 hours. Then rest of the carrots and potatoes. I like to wait till the final hour to add them in so that they don’t over cook and turn mushy, especially the carrots. Continue cooking for 1 hour. You can remove the lid for the stew to reduce and thicken —I don’t do this all the time.
Lastly, season to taste with salt and pepper. It’s always better to season your stews at the end, to eliminate the chances of over seasoning. As the stew reduces and thickens the saltier and flavourful it becomes.
Garnish with fresh thyme
With slices of sourdough or soda bread and butter
On top of mashed potatoes if you didn’t add potatoes in the stew
You can use what ever slow cooking meat you want. Beef cheek or chuck are good alternatives for other beef cuts.
You can use beef stock instead, I use chicken stock because I find that beef stock can be too strong in flavour and that it over powers the Guinness.
If you want to cook it in a slow cooker, you can do so at Step 10. Just add the rest of the carrots and potatoes in at the same time. Cook on low for 6-8 hours and high for 3-4 hours.