Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guinness Beef Stew

Normally, when I want to cook meat until it's fall apart tender, I reach for my pressure cooker. It does a fabulous job in a fraction of the time, but this time, the pressure cooker just wasn't going to cut it. The problem (and at times, benefit) of the pressure cooker is that there's hardly any evaporation, and if I was going to get the liquid in the stew to cook down into a nice, thick, flavorful sauce, I needed that evaporation.

The other way to cook meat until it's fall apart tender is to braise it in the oven, so that's what I did instead. I grabbed my beloved le creuset and put together this hearty stew which was surprisingly tasty. I say surprisingly because I haven't eaten much stew in my lifetime and never really thought anything of it, but now I definitely know why they call it comfort food. It really does warm you up from the inside out.

- 1.5 pounds of chuck steak or other stew meat
- 1 potato
- 2 carrots
- 1 box of mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 2 handfuls of pearl onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 bottle of guinness
- a bit of water or chicken stock
- a few dashes of worcestire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- thyme
- a bit of flour
- a bit of oil

- Cut the beef into chunks and lightly dredge it in flour.
- Heat a bit of oil in a heavy bottomed pot and brown the beef. You may have to do this in batches. Don't overcrowd the pan.
- Add just a bit of water or chicken stock to deglaze the pan. I don't use the Guinness for this because it's so dark that it's hard to see if you've really gotten all those great flavorful brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Mince the garlic and toss it in.
- Add the Guinness and a few splashes of worcestire sauce. Stir in the tomato paste until melted. I wait on the salt and pepper since it's going to reduce down and might get too salty.
- Toss in the peeled and chopped potatoes and carrots. Toss in the mushrooms and too. I made the mistake of putting the onions in at this point too and they disentigrated by the time the meat was done, so wait on this.
- Put the thyme in and bring everything to a simmer.
- Cover and put it into a 325 degree oven. Let it cook until the meat is fall apart tender. I think it took about an hour, but I'm not really sure. Add the onions in maybe about half way through the cooking.
- When it's done, the potatoes will have disappeared and helped thicken the sauce. Remove the thyme and add some peas and stir to heat through.
- Add salt and pepper if needed.


dp said...

Regarding the pressure cooker, about how long do you cook beef for? Say chunks for stewing or short ribs? I've got pork and chicken down, but I botched the beef.

BTW, when I use the pressure cooker, I generally fish out the meat and reduce the sauce. Otherwise, you're right, it doesn't thicken up.

Mom on the Run said...

That sounds like an amazing dish! I now that my family would love it!

Anonymous said...

Your kitchen must have smelled amazing as this cooked!

gaga said...

dp - I don't have an precise time for chunks for stew or short ribs. What I usually do though, is go with about 20 minutes and then let the pressure come down naturally. Usually it's tender enough by then. If not, I'll bring the pressure back up and immediately turn off the heat and let it come back down again naturally. Like I said, not particularly precise, and I'm not following any official guidelines or anything, it's just off the top of my head.

In general, I'd always rather undercook than overcook because it's easier to fix when it's undercooked.

And I like your idea of reducing the sauce afterwards. I'll keep that in mind for next time. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

When I was in Ireland last year we had some superb Guinness Stew. Your recipe looks a lot like what we got in the pubs there. I will have to make some of your Guinness Beef Stew. I may even make a Guinness Cake for dessert!

Mo Diva said...

If it werent for the fact that i ate a cow's worth of beef on vacation last week, I'd make this ASAP! Its been forever and a day since i have had a beef stew!!!

feeling entropy said...

yum times 5. could you have used a crock pot?!?!?! :D

gaga said...

You sure can! Crock pots are great for soups and stews!

Reeni said...

This looks outstanding, especially with the Guinness in it! YUMMMM!!

dp said...

Thanks! That trial and error method worked with chicken and pork, but the first time I did beef, I overcooked it :-(. The guidelines for my cooker said 1/3 of the normal cooking time. For beef chunks that's about 1.5 to 2 hours, so I did about 35 minutes. Clearly too much if you're only doing about 20.

Anonymous said...

Guinness stew is a classic!

Simones Kitchen said...

That just looks like an amazing recipe and o so delicious!! I've never made any stew myself, although my mom use to make it on a regular basis when I still lived at home. I might have to try some time soon!

MaryBeth said...

YUM-O...very thick and hearty. Looks wonderful, my husband is all over the fact that it has beer in it!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! That looks so so good.

Joie de vivre said...

Now that is some good ol' stick to your ribs stew!

Mary Ellen said...

I was just looking for a Guinness Beef Stew recipe. This looks great!

Olga said...

what an absolutely perfect comfort meal!!!!