Hi, friends. I hope you are ready for another delicious Irish recipe in celebration of St. Patrick’s day?! Because, let’s be honest here, there can never be too much Irish food, amiright?
Truth time, when planning recipes for St. Patrick’s day I really really REALLY wanted to share with you one of my favorite Irish meals that I ate often while I was studying abroad there. A traditional Irish breakfast. As you know I am a huge believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I am a fan of a good hearty breakfast with eggs and some fruit. I never was the cereal type of girl; it never sat right with me. I never had an issue with finding a nice hearty breakfast while I was in Ireland. I mean hearty food is their style. A traditional Irish breakfast varied slightly depending on where you got it but a few things were required: a few slices of thick bacon (their bacon is quite a bit different than ours; it’s thicker and not as fatty), 2 fried eggs, roasted mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, a few slices of toast -served with butter, of course – and the best part, IMO, black pudding. Now, if you know what I am referring to when I say black pudding, you know I am not referring to a chocolate dessert. I am, in fact, talking about blood sausage. WAIT! Hear me out. I know it sounds strange, but it’s incredibly good. Don’t worry, the sausauge is cooked and is very solid. It’s this creamy, salty, almost fluffy piece of sausage. IT IS SO GOOD! Thinking about it now is making the breakfast I just ate this morning (hard boiled eggs and a green smoothie) seem pretty lousy.
Please understand that I so desperately wanted to share my version of a traditional Irish breakfast with you, because it’s a meal that I truly crave and it speaks to my heart. But, here is the thing: we have eggs, we have tomatoes, we have toast, and mushrooms. I was even willing to swap our American bacon for the Irish bacon, but I was not okay with leaving out my favorite part, the black pudding. Without the black pudding the breakfast would just seem….well like any old hearty American breakfast. Irish black pudding is hard to find in the states. I know of one little Irish store that has been known to carry it in Dubuque, Iowa, but I know not all of you can travel to Dubuque, Iowa just for some sausage. And, yes you can find it online, but the shipping cost probably isn’t worth it to most, especially when you are probably weirded out by the thought of it. For me, I might splurge.
Thank you for letting me get that off of my chest. I feel so much better.
BTW as I am typing this post my father-in-law is in Ireland for work. Let’s all look off into the distance with jealousy. Ready, go! Lucky him!
Now, about this Irish Beef and Guinness Stew. Honestly, please don’t think this was my second choice to the Irish breakfast. I also truly enjoy a good hearty Beef and Guinness Stew. In fact, I have been craving it while reflecting on my time in Ireland as my Father-in-law was preparing for his six- week stay there.
Irish Beef and Guinness Stew was my go-to meal to order at a pub or restaurant while I was in Ireland. I was there from January to the beginning of May. As we were leaving, the locals told us that we were going to miss the most beautiful time of year in Ireland, spring. Still, even during the chilly, rainy winter season I found Ireland to be gorgeous. Bright green grass and flowers are everywhere! LOVE! But it can be bone-chilling on rainy winter days in Ireland and then I was always happy to sit down to a piping hot bowl of Beef and Guinness Stew to help warm me up.
Generally Beef and Guinness Stew is served either with cut potatoes in it, or over mashed potatoes. Either way the beef is tender, the broth is rich in color and flavor -thank you Guinness – and the large chunks of mushrooms, carrots, and celery soak up all of the wonderful flavors.
If you are in Ireland right now, because you’re awesome and traveled there for St. Patrick’s day, or you are even more awesome and live there (can I please come visit?), you will understand the cozy feeling of walking into a pub on a rainy day, ordering a pint of your favorite beer (or for me Bulmer’s, Irish hard cider), sitting down by the fire and being served a piping hot bowl of nice hearty Irish Beef and Guinness Stew. It literally warms your heart. Maybe that’s why the Irish are so nice.
Because we can’t all be in Ireland right now (sad face), I propose that we make a batch of this Irish Beef and Guinness Stew. That way we can all pretend to be in Ireland together.
This stew does take a little time to make. The beef needs at least 30 minutes, an hour is best, to simmer and soften up. But trust me, it is not hard to make. All of the chopping is easy: big chunks only. It is worth every minute you spend on making this stew. Besides, if there is one thing I learned from living in Ireland, it was that it’s okay to slow down and take your time. Seriously, just try to catch any public transit at its scheduled time in Dublin. They’re rarely on time. But no one ever seemed to care if you were late in Dublin. Maybe we could all learn something from the Irish in that department.
Happy St. Paddy’s day, everyone! Cheers!
P.S. If you would like more traditional Irish recipes try my Irish Brown Soda Bread (which would be a great side dish to this Beef and Guinness Stew), Leek, Potato, and Blue Cheese Soup (GF). And for a real Irish treat give my Irish Coffee a try!
- 1 pound beef (chuck shoulder, or some other beef stew meat), cut into 1 inch chunks
- salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 2 to 3 leeks, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 bottle (11.2 ounces) Guinness
- 2¼ cups beef broth
- 16 ounces mushrooms, washed and quartered
- 3 to 4 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
- 4 to 5 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 10 red potatoes, washed, unpeeled, cut into big chunks
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
- Pat beef dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the side facing up with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large heavy-bottomed stock pot, or a dutch oven, over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the beef, seasoned side down, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, otherwise the meat won't sear. I had to work in three batches. Season the up side of the meat with salt and pepper, in the pan. Cook the meat on each side until it's browned, about 2 minutes. Once both sides are well browned remove the beef into a clean bowl. Continue to work in batches until all the meat has been seared. It's okay if the beef isn't fully cooked; it will cook more as it simmers in the broth. Set the bowl of cooked beef aside until ready to use.
- Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in the pan. Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes, until tender. Add the leeks and saute another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute, or until fragrant.
- Add the flour and stir constantly for about 5 minutes, or until the raw flower smell is gone.
- Add the Guinness, scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze the stuck-on bits from the beef. Turn the heat up to high and add the beef broth and the cooked beef, along with any of its juices back into the pot. Cover and allow to come to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer covered for at least 30 minutes; an hour would be even better. You want to make sure your beef is fork-tender. How tough your beef was to begin with determines how long you need to simmer it in the broth. Usually the longer the simmer time the more tender the beef will be.
- Once the beef is nice and tender add the mushrooms, celery, carrots and potatoes. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the potatoes, carrots, and celery are fork-tender. The mushrooms should have reduced in size. NOTE: If the amount of liquid looks pretty dry compared to the amount of veggies, give it some time. As the veggies reduce their liquid, the broth will thin out a bit. If you want a thicker broth, then simmer with the lid off, and if you want a thinner broth, keep the lid on.
- Once the veggies are tender, remove the stew from the heat. Stir in the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Don't be too stingy on the salt; it really helps to bring out the flavor of the broth.
- Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with more parsley, if desired.
- Store leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. The leftovers reheat really nicely.