Occasionally, or maybe regularly depending on your own personal cooking tendencies, I like to spice things up in the kitchen by delving into international cuisines. T and I love to travel, and one of the most exciting things about leaving the good 'ol U.S.A. at least in my mind, is getting a chance to try authentic cuisine from other cultures. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to spend the entire year traveling abroad, but on the other hand, it is fun to inject new cultural experiences into our everyday lives through the kitchen.
One of my favorite hobbies, besides cooking, is perusing the stacks at the local library. In addition to my usual mix of nonfiction and fiction writing, I LOVE to check out the cookbook section. It is so interesting to look through the pages of different cultural cookbooks and try to imagine what the flavor profiles of various areas of the world focus on. I would highly recommend seeking out the cookbook section of your local library - you might just be surprised by all the treasures you can find there, and it is a great way to try out a cookbook before deciding to purchase it.
When I found the recipe for Guinness Beef Stew in the Irish section of The Best International Recipe cookbook, I knew I had to try it. I've made plenty of dishes that include white or red wine in the ingredients, but using something as dark and heavy as Guinness had me intrigued. Luckily, most wine and spirits stores sell single bottles of Guinness, and I didn't have to buy an entire six pack. Whew! The only person I know who will regularly consume dark heavy beer like Guinness, besides on St. Patrick's Day, is my brother-in-law, who lives a solid 3 1/2 hours away. In this recipe though, it helps enhance the flavor and makes each hearty mouthful a delight to devour.
|Recipe adapted from The Best International Recipe|
GUINNESS BEEF STEW | Yield: 6-8 Servings | Time: 2 1/2 hrs.
3-3 1/2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth
1 12 oz. bottle Guinness Draught
2 tsp dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, bite sized pieces
1 lb. carrots, bite sized pieces
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season bite-sized chunks of beef with salt & pepper. In a large oven proof pot or dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and cook 1/2 of meat 7-10 min. Remove cooked meat and juices to a bowl, and repeat with other half meat. Transfer cooked meat and juices to bowl.
NOTE: If your pot or dutch oven is large enough to cook all the meat at once, you do not have to do two separate batches.
Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to pot with diced onions and 1/4 tsp salt, stir occasionally 5-7 min. Add tomato paste and minced garlic, stirring for 30 seconds. Stir in flour, and cook 1 min. more.
Stir in broth, 1 1/4 C beer, thyme, bay leaves, brown sugar, and beef with juices. Bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to the preheated oven for 1 hr. 15 min.
Meanwhile, prep the potatoes and carrots. After 1 hr. 15 min., remove the stew from the oven, and add potatoes and carrots. Return to oven and cook an additional 45-50 min.
To serve, discard the bay leaves, stir in the remaining 1/4 C beer, season with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley.
Side suggestion: beer bread
My brothers will go on and on about this dish, and have convinced my mom that she needs to make it for Christmas Eve dinner this year. They have even gone so far as to state it is 'the best stew they have ever tasted'. Quite a compliment to the chef I would say!
What are your favorite recipes using beer?