Saturday, August 22, 2009

Guinness Stew

Guinness Stew was the first meal that our Little Miss ate (at 6 months old) with real gusto. I had figured that she was a fussy eater as she refused most everything I offered her. She did however, like Ella's Kitchen baby food available in the UK (when she and I visited my sister). This brand of food is terrific: combining a multitude of organic fruits and vegetables to make some really interesting flavors. I love that it comes in a re-sealable pouch so smaller quantities can be served - squeezed directly onto a spoon. Great for meals on the go.
I had suggested making a beef and red wine casserole for dinner one chilly Chicago winter night. My husband put in a request for Beef and Guinness Stew. I told him "No. I don't have any Guinness and besides, I don't have a recipe." I was then presented with 10 printed versions of Beef and Guinness recipes while he ran out to buy the Guinness. Really. Did I have any choice?! At the time, I didn't find any one recipe that I liked, so I combined several recipes.

Now we are emptying our fridge and freezer, I am somewhat restricted by what we still have: some beef and veal stew cubes from Fresh Picks, scant stalks of celery, parsley and carrots picked up at the last Farmers Markets, 8 prunes, not a skerrick of fresh thyme (the Cooks Thesaurus notes that oregano will do), 1 x clove of garlic, a handful of onions, some parsnips, a very small amount of flour... will have to send husband off for tomato puree and Guinness.

This dish is not a last-minute meal, but with a little planning and early preparation, it can cook itself. I started cooking the stew on Thursday night then finished cooking it for last nights dinner (while I prepared to go out!)

Here is my approximation of a recipe:

2 pounds cubed stewing beef (trimmed of all fat and sinew and cut in 1'' cubes)
2 tblsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour (seasoned with salt, pepper and a good pinch of cayenne pepper)
2 large onions (3 x small), diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
16 oz Guinness
2 cups cut carrots (cut into rounds if smaller, dice if large carrots)
1 bay leaf
1 stalk fresh thyme (or oregano)
2 tblsp tomato puree / paste dissolved in 4 tblsp water
12 prunes, pitted
parsley (finely chopped for garnish)

In a plastic bag, toss beef with seasoned flour, shaking off excess.

In an ovenproof casserole (large enough to hold all ingredients), heat the oil over a high heat and brown the meat cubes all over. Reduce the heat, add the onions and celery and cook for a few minutes. Add a third of the Guinness, stirring to remove any baked on flour. Add rest of the Guinness and any remaining flour, carrots, tomato puree, bay leaf and thyme, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil, then cover and braise in 300 oven for 2 hours (or up to 3 hours) until meat is tender. If stew is runny, finish cooking on stovetop, uncovered until gravy thickens

At approximately 45 minutes before the end of cooking time, add the prunes. Season to taste.

Remove the bay leaf and serve sprinkled liberally with parsley alongside mashed potatoes (or mashed potato and parsnip) and peas or steamed beans.

No comments:

Post a Comment