Saturday, March 13, 2010

Almost Irish Stew

I can't help thinking of the quiz we took in which we were supposed to identify something we are not. I am many things, but I am most definitely not Irish. Not even a little bit. I am happy to join in almost any celebration, though, and to that end, whipped up an almost Irish stew -- with Guinness Stout.

As it happens, I read the other day that stout and beer were once the drink of choice in England because the water was so contaminated. In the face of horrible diseases, stout was the safer choice and was readily consumed by men, women, and children. Apparently, men consumed about eight pints a day. I know some people who wouldn't mind doing that.

So, thanks to my friend, Amy, who loves dark beer, I happened to have a bottle of Guinness and used it in a stew. I only used half the bottle and was quite surprised by the pronounced the flavor of the beer. I'm not a big beer lover and it seemed overwhelming and somewhat bitter to me.

Not to worry, I found the perfect foil for the Guinness -- molasses! One-third of a cup of molasses mixed beautifully and didn't diminish the strong flavor of the stout. If you are an ardent lover of dark beers, add the molasses in small amounts to suit your taste.

I didn't want to spend a lot of time letting it stew, either, so I used sirloin instead of stew beef, and it turned out well without having to cook for hours. And I shaved off a little prep time by leaving the peel on the potatoes.

Almost Irish Stew

1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 pounds sirloin
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices bacon
1/2 bottle Guinness stout
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 large red-skinned potatoes cut into approximately 1/2 inch pieces
3-4 carrots, sliced
2 teaspoons mustard
1/3 cup molasses
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 16-ounce bag frozen peas

1. Slice the sirloin into 1 inch cubes. Place into a bowl with flour and toss to coat.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large stew pot. When hot, brown the beef. Three minutes on one side, turn a couple of times and brown three minutes more. Remove the beef from the pot and store in the refrigerator.

3. Add the bacon to the pot and cook. Turn down the temperature so the bits in the bottom of the pot don't burn. When cooked, remove the bacon and chop coarsely. Return to pot.

4. Deglaze the pot by pouring in the Guinness and scraping the bottom. Add the potatoes, garlic, and carrots. Add enough water to just cover it all. Add the molasses, bay leaf, thyme, mustard, and paprika. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so it simmers, and cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots can be easily pierced with a fork.

5. Return the beef to the pot and add the frozen peas. Cook 5-8 minutes.

Serve and enjoy the rest of the Guinness with your meal!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


  1. Looks yummy and I love the bear! Go green! I am Irish. I love the Irish. I love green. And I love stew. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think that using a recipe with Guinness in it makes you closer to being Irish than you were before! Love the idea of the beer and the molasses together. Thanks, Krista!


  3. The recipe sounds good, Irish or not. Molasses is one ingredient I would have never thought to put in stew. Great tip.

  4. Thanks, Avery. The beer added an interesting flavor to the stew.

    Elizabeth, maybe we're all a little bit Irish at this time of year?

    Mason, I think the stew would be equally good with a lighter beer. The beer really does add an nice hearty taste. I think the molasses worked with it because it also has a hearty sort of taste.

    ~ Krista

  5. Krista,

    I was sledding with the dudes in Flagstaff yesterday and that stew would have hit the spot
    perfectly. Okay, maybe just the Guinness after my most spectacular wipe out. LOL. How did you think of using molasses to mellow the beer? Brilliant! I can't wait to try this!

  6. Krista - Using the sirloin to speed up the process is genius. You ARE the domestic goddess. :-) Love the idea of molasses and dark beer, too. This one's a keeper. Have a great St. Patrick's Day...

    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

  7. This is a *great* recipe. Love the sirloin idea. Just got back from an author fair not far from home. Joliet is full of wonderful readers.
    And oh, hey... I misspoke - they didn't cancel the Chicago Irish Parade, they canceled the South Side Irish Parade. Just as much of a shocker, though ;-)

  8. Jenn, I just felt it was too bitter and tried to think of something sweet that wouldn't be sugary. Molasses came to mind!

    Thanks, Cleo.

    Julie, you make Chicago sound like so much fun!

    ~ Krista

  9. Krista....haven't had much of an oppportunity for blog reading so I'm trying to catch up this evening. This recipe sounds fab-u-lous!! Can't wait to try it out. Luckily I have a sweet and wonderful DH who doesn't mind being my taster of new recipes. Thanks so much for sharing this.