Gourmess' Beef and Guinness Stew

There's a chill in the air now. Old Man Winter is waiting in the wings. The sun is still bright, but sweaters cover our t-shirts, full-bodied wines have replaced fruity cocktails, there's a fire in the fireplace and slippers on our feet. In other words, it's the perfect time to make a pot of stew.

We had a couple cans of Guinness left over from our Tinth Anniversary Dinner, so I thought I'd use the Guinness and make a hearty, rich beef stew. This is not a quick recipe, but it is a tasty one, and if you have the time to make it, you'll be pleased with the results.

Note: This recipe makes about 4 servings. Also, this stew is even more delicious when eaten after a day of marinating in the fridge, so plan on serving the next day if you can wait that long. (Just adjust the seasonings a bit before serving, if needed.)  It's also easy to skim off any fat from the surface when the stew is chilled.

Gourmess' Beef and Guinness Stew 
3-4 thick slices bacon, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds lean beef for stew (chuck) cut in 1-inch cubes
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 TBS unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced (or a heaping 1/4 tsp of garlic powder)
2 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Guinness stout
1 cup beef broth
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups peeled carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh thyme
4-6 parsley stems
Cooking twine/cheesecloth
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Moderate MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 4

To Do:

  • In a heavy stew pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy and browned. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper, then add the beef and coat with the flour mixture. 
  • Cook the coated beef in the bacon fat (you may need to do in batches) over medium heat until browned on all sides. 
  • Remove the beef from the pan and cook the onions until they are lightly browned as well. Remove the onions from the pan and add to the resting beef. 
  • Add the butter and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or so. Then add the tomato paste and sugar, and cook for 1-2 minutes more until fragrant. (If the heat seems too high, lower a bit.)
  • Gently stir in the Guinness, broth and Worcester sauce, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom/sides of the pan. Add the chopped carrots, beef, onions and bay leaf and bring to a boil. 
  • Reduce heat to low. Firmly tie the parsley stems and thyme sprigs into a tight bundle with cooking twine (or wrap in cheesecloth and tie) and add to the stew. Cover, and cook at a low simmer for about 2-2.5 hours, or until beef is fork tender.
  • When beef is tender, remove lid from pot and discard the tied herbs and the bay leaf. Stir in the fresh parsley and cook uncovered for about five minutes more. Your stew should be reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, but not gluey thick (if it is, stir in more broth to thin out). Season to taste with salt/pepper.
  • Let cool, then transfer to the fridge to marinate overnight.
  • When ready to serve, gently reheat stew over low heat, adjust seasonings as needed, and ladle over mashed or boiled/buttered potatoes. It's also great with crusty bread or biscuits. And if you want to get really fancy, ladle a few scoops into individual ramekins, top with pie or buttered phyllo dough and bake until browned. 

  • Yum!