Guinness Beef Stew

Getty Images / Bruce Yuanyue Bi
  • 110 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
Ratings (5)

Guinness Stew will please beef fans, stew fans, and Guinness fans alike.  A simple combination of root vegetables, Guinness Stout, stew meat, and beef stock smells divine as it simmers on the stove.

The preparation is very straightforward: the vegetables are peeled and chopped into large chunks, and the meat is lightly floured and seared in butter before the liquids are added. 

Widely referred to as a “meal in a can,” the strong flavor and weight of Guinness is somehow nourishing.  In this recipe, the rich, malty flavor melds beautifully with beef broth, and helps highlight the earthy flavor of carrots, parsnips, and turnip. 

Guinness is a dark, flavorful beer that gets its characteristic color and taste from roasted barley and malt extract.  It has certainly been around long enough to warrant a place of honor in Irish history: Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in Dublin in 1759 (though the term Stout wasn’t used until the 1840’s). In the 1920’s, Guinness ran a famous ad campaign with the slogan “Guinness is Good for You,” which was catchy, if medically dubious.  It is now prohibited in Ireland to imply that alcoholic drinks improve physical well-being or performance, but we know that it is good for you!  Socially, that is.  Guinness has an abv of %7.5 – a pint or two will get you chatting!

In bars in Ireland and elsewhere, there is a great deal of attention paid to the method of pouring a draught pint.  No need to worry about that here.  When cooking with Guinness at home, it is most likely that you will be using cans.  The technique for pouring Guinness from can is very simple:  crack it open, and turn it all the way upside down over a measuring cup or pint glass.  This will prevent it from foaming up (don’t try this with other beers – Guinness has a special widget that makes this work).

This recipe for Guinness Stew is best served over a big scoop mashed potatoes and finished with a sprinkling of parsley. For a lighter, less carb-loaded option, substitute mashed potatoes for raw spinach.  Remove the stems from the spinach and add a handful to each serving bowl.  Scoop the stew over the spinach -- the spinach will wilt beneath the stew adding flavor, texture, and nutrients to the meal.

Like any stew, it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week, and may even improve after the first day. 

If you enjoy cooking with Guinness, you’ve got options!  It makes a great marinade, and pairs especially well with cheddar cheese in dishes such as Guinness and Cheddar Biscuits or Guinness and Cheddar Soup.  You can also use Guinness in sweet recipes such as Decadently Chocolate Guinness Stout Brownies or Guinness Black and White Chocolate Mousse.

What You'll Need

  • 2 lbs boneless beef sirloin or stew meat, chopped into one inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Guinness Stout 
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 3 medium onions
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 5 carrots
  • 3 parsnips
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Garnish: parsley, optional

How to Make It

  1. Prep.  Peel the onions and chop them into medium dice. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel the carrots and parsnips, remove and discard the ends.  If the wide ends are large, slice them in half lengthwise, then chop the carrots and parsnips into 2-3 inch lengths. Wash the celery and chop it into 2 inch lengths. Peel the turnip and chop it into 1 inch pieces.  Season the meat with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Place the flour in a large shallow bowl and dredge the meat in the flour, covering it lightly on all sides and shaking to remove any excess.
  1. Brown the meat.  In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stockpot, melt the butter into the oil over medium high heat, swirling occasionally until the foam subsides.  Work in batches: add enough meat to cover the bottom, leaving an inch between the pieces.  Brown the meat on all sides, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until evenly browned (let it brown on the first side for 2-3 minutes so that at least one side develops a crust).  Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat to a plate and set aside.  Add the onions and stir, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Stir the onions frequently until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the celery, garlic and bay leaf and stir often until both onions and garlic have softened, another 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the liquids and simmer.  Return the beef to the pot.  Add the beef stock and Guinness Stout, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a high simmer.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 1 hour. 
  3. Add the vegetables and simmer again. Add the carrots, parsnips, turnips, and thyme sprig and stir to combine.  Cover and continue to cook for 20 minutes.  Uncover and continue to simmer until vegetables and meat are tender and the stew is thickened, another 20-30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig. Taste and season to your preference with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve.   Serve hot.  Guinness Stew is delicious on its own, or served over a scoop of mashed potatoes (or spinach for the carb-conscious).  Place a scoop of mashed potatoes in individual serving bowls and top with a scoop of Guinness Stew.  Garnish with chopped parsley.