Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Guinness Beef Stew

In yesterday's post, I mentioned my thick, comforting Guinness stew. Slow-cooked stews are possibly one of the most perfect winter meals. Not only do they require little work (once you chop your veggies, sear the meat and deglaze your pan, you're pretty much there), but as they cook, they also release the most fabulously tempting aromas.
About this stew though-- it calls for Guinness beer, shallots and carrots. Those are the main components. You can serve it as is, with some bread, or perhaps with a little mound of mashed potatoes. Although I think some wide egg noodles would also be perfect. Another great idea (which I'll be trying next time) is to increase the amount of shallots and leave out the carrots. Then, line a baking pan with flaky pastry, fill it with the stew and close with a lid of pastry, making sure to make some slits here and there so that the steam can escape. Guinness pie, here we come!
Hope you like the recipe as much as we did.

Guinness Beef Stew
Serves 3-4
650-700g beef chuck, cubed
2 tbsps all-purpose flour
knob of butter
1 tbsp mild olive oil
fleur de sel and pepper, to taste
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 large shallots, halved and each half thickly sliced
2 bay leaves
small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
350ml Guinness beer
250ml good-quality beef stock, hot
70g tomato puree
500g carrots, cut in rough chunks
chopped parsley, to serve

Make sure your beef is at room temperature before you start. Dry the beef with kitchen paper and cut it in to rough chunks. Toss through the flour.
Melt the butter with the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meat is batches, seasoning it with salt and pepper as you go and making sure not to crowd the pan. Have a heavy-bottomed casserole waiting. This is where you will actually cook the stew. Transfer the browned meat to the casserole once browned and also toss in the garlic, shallots, bay leaves and thyme.
In the meantime, dissolve the tomato puree in the stock.
Once all the meat is browned, deglaze the pan with the beer, making sure to scrape up all the brown bits. This will thicken the stew and add flavor. Let that bubble for a minute and then add to the casserole. Also add the stock and tomato puree mixture.
Add the carrots, bring everything to a brief boil and then immediately reduce the heat. Cover. lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 3 hours. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes and slightly increase the heat.
Serve with a scattering of freshly-chopped parsely.
You can also make the stew a day in advance. It will only get better. In fact, if making a Guinness pie, I wholeheartdely recommend you do just that.

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