In just under one week, one if the year's most celebrated holidays makes its long awaited appearance. While many people with Irish blood (or like me just pretend they have Irish blood) will be drinking green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage next Thursday, many poeple will be in St. Patrick's Day mode from Thursday and throughout the weekend. As they say, there's 364 practice days and only one St. Patrick's Day! That's the way I remember celebrating when I lived in St. John's, Newfoundland, which might possibly be the most Irish place outside Ireland. One of my favorite ways to celebrate was to head downtown to George Street at about 11:30 in the morning on the last Sunday of St. Patrick's Day Weekend, find one of the many great Irish pubs/bars (Greensleeves was a great choice for a few years), get a large table up as close to the stage where there'd be numerous bands playing throughout the day and night, order up a big feed of steak and eggs with homefries and toast, and start drinking Guinness (after a coffee and Irish Cream). Needless to say, by the time evening came around we'd all be feeling pretty good, with my "Kiss Me I'm Irish" fake tattoos still hanging on and my feet tired from all the dancing. What a time we used to have.
I'm making new St. Paddy's Day traditions now down here in The Boston States
and there's no shortage of Irish heritage and celebration in these parts that's for sure. One way I celebrate is obviously through food and I like to start the week off by making a big pot of delicious Beef & Guinness Stew. For a cold damp mid-March evening, you really can't beat a bowl of this hearty stew, with its tender morsels of beef, loads of carrots and onions, and savory Guinness broth. Here's how I make mine.
Beef and Guinness Stew
- 2 pounds stew beef (approximately 1 inch cubes)
- flour for dusting
- vegetable oil for searing the beef
- 4 carrots, sliced crossways
- 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
- 1 can of Guinness
- 1 32 ounce carton of good beef stock/broth
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
- enough corn starch and water to make a little slurry to thicken the stew
Prepare the beef by cutting to the appropriate sized 1 inch cubes, and pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the meat with salt and pepper and toss lightly in some flour. Add oil to a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven and sear the cubed beef in small batches in the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pot as you will end up steaming the meat. It will be worth the extra effort as getting a good crust on the meat as it is a one way ticket to flavor-town. Reserve all the browned beef to the side and to the same pot, add the onion and carrots, along with a little oil if needed. Season the vegetables with a little salt and pepper (I like to season my food as I go through the stages) and cook for a couple of minutes, until they just start to get tender. Add the beef back to the pot, along with the can of beer, the beef stock and the tomato paste. Be sure to scrape all the bits of the bottom of the pot (more flavor-town action). The tomato paste adds additional depth and richness to the stew. Add the bay leaf, bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cover. Simmer the stew on low until the beef is super tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When there is about a half an hour left to the cooking, taste the soup for seasoning and adjust the thickness of the broth to your desired thickness. The flour on the beef would have added some body, but by combining some water and cornstarch (or wondra flour) you can quickly thicken the stew. Do this and let it cook on low for another 30 minutes to cook out any raw cornstarch/flour taste. Serve in large bowls with some Irish soda bread or rolls, and garnish with fresh parsley.
I just love mushrooms on the grill. I use a hamburger basket, it fits 4 portabella mushrooms nicely. I have cooked them both on coals and gas. They are WONDERFUL either way. I use olive oil, Italian seasoning. And garlic.ReplyDelete
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