Beef and Guinness Stew: Iconic Irish Meal

Irish stew
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  • 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Guinness is a quintessential symbol of Ireland and a pub favorite. That's what it's famous for.

But when used for cooking, Guinness stout beer helps tenderize the beef and also gives a rich, malty flavor to this chunky Irish stew. It is also flavored with onions, carrots, garlic, and thyme. The stew can be made on the stovetop or in the oven. This recipe can be found in "The Complete Book of Irish Country Cooking" by Darina Allen. 

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds lean stewing beef
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 2 large onions (coarsely chopped)
  • Optional: 1 large clove garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree (dissolved in 4 tablespoons water)
  • 1 1/4 cups Guinness stout beer
  • 2 cups carrots (cut into chunks)
  • 1 sprig thyme

How to Make It

  1. Trim the beef of any fat or gristle, cut into cubes of 2 inches and toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Season the flour with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch or two of cayenne.
  3. Toss the meat in the mixture.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a wide frying pan over high heat.
  5. Brown the meat on all sides.
  6. Add the onions, crushed garlic and tomato puree to the pan, cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes.
  1. Transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole and pour some of the Guinness beer into the frying pan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices in the pan.
  2. Pour onto the meat with the remaining Guinness; add the carrots and the thyme. Stir, taste and add a little more salt if necessary.
  3. Cover with the lid of the casserole and simmer very gently until the meat is tender -- 2 to 3 hours. The stew can be cooked on top of the stove or in the oven at 300 F.
  4. When it's done, taste and correct the seasoning. Scatter with lots of chopped parsley and serve.

Serving Suggestions
​This hearty Irish stew is a meal in itself and just needs a couple of accompaniments to make a full menu. Serve with Irish soda bread, and, of course, Guinness. If you'd like a bit of beer adventure, these microbrewery stouts are similar to Guinness and could be used in the recipe and to drink with the meal: Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, O'Hara's Irish Stout and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

If you are a wine drinker rather than a beer connoisseur, pair this beefy stew with a dry red -- cabernet sauvignon, Burgundy, merlot, syrah, malbec, zinfandel, pinot noir or shiraz. If you like blends, choose Cotes du Rhone, a blend of cabernet and shiraz, merlot and cabernet, or any good California winery blend of medium-bodied dry reds.