This is a feel good stew full of rich, hearty flavors to warm your soul! Tender, fall-apart beef is cooked to perfection a thick, Guinness gravy. Once you try this you'll be making it again and again!
If April showers bring May flowers, then we can look forward to one heck of a blossom fest next month! Juuuuust when I was looking forward to Spring produce, all those mini vegetables and tender leaves, Mother Nature decides to mix it up a little and throws us a rainy week ahead in the North East. Re-enter the soul-warming foods (I eat according to the weather, salads in summer, sushi only when it’s not too cold, I’m picky like that) and out comes the cast iron pot for a hearty Beef & Guinness Stew.
I’ve been making this stew for years, it's a riff off an Epicurious recipe, and I’ve changed it here and there over time to suit our tastes. I often make this when we have families over for dinner or a weekend lunch as it’s made ahead, and then left to simmer in the oven for 1-1/2 hours, making it perfect for entertaining.
The only part that takes a little time is searing the meat in batches, but it's well worth it for excellent flavor. Once you've done that, the rest is quick and the oven finishes it off!
Kids LOVE this meal because it’s hearty, simple and the meat is very tender. As for the Guinness? Don’t worry, the alcohol evaporates in cooking so it’s not a boozy dish, and not at all over-powering in taste either. Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles or gratin dauphinoise and a side of green beans for a well rounded, satisfying meal! To dress it up a little, you could add puff pastry tops and make them individual pies, or add dumplings at the end of the cooking time. So many options! xoxo Kirsty
Ingredients (serves 4 - easily doubled)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds (approx. 1 kg) boneless beef chuck or other stew meat, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces
2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons (45ml) water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup (235ml) beef broth
1 can (14.9 fl.oz.) Guinness
1 tablespoon (15ml) Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons drained brined green peppercorns, roughly chopped
6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks (roughly 1-inch or 2.5cm)
5 fresh thyme sprigs
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Place an oven rack in the middle position.
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large shallow dish. Pat the beef pieces dry with paper towels. Add the beef to the flour and toss to make sure it’s all coated.
Heat the oil in a large, wide (5-6 quart) ovenproof pot over medium high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add 1/3 of the meat, brown on all sides and transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the meat in two more batches. It does not need to cook all the way through, you just want to get a nice dark sear.
Add the onion, garlic, and water to the pot and cook whilst scraping up the brown bits from from the bottom of the pot. Continue stirring until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine for 1 more minute.
Add the beef with the juices which have accumulated in the bowl, beef broth, Guinness, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, carrots and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid and transfer the whole pot to the oven. Cook until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened, about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Fish out the thyme stems and serve with mashed potatoes, noodles or gratin dauphinoise.
To dress it up, you can add puff pastry toppers. For this you’ll need a sheet of puff pastry and an egg.
Turn your ramekins, or other ovenproof dishes, upside down onto the puff pastry sheet. Score a line around the shape of the ramekin and cut it out. Do this for however many ramekins you plan to serve. Beat the egg with a splash of water in a small dish and brush the puff pastry shapes lightly with the egg. Bake the pastry shapes at 400F (200C) for 15-20 minutes until puffed up and golden. Set aside to cool. These can be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container.
To reheat, just pop them in the oven for 5 minutes whilst you dish the stew into individual ramekins. Place the puff pastry lids on top and watch your guests WOW at your presentation skills!