Dave K requested the Guinness beef stew recipe. Quantities below are approximate. I often find myself with too much, so you may want to doublecheck against a book recipe.
- 1 to 2 lbs stew meat, cubed (tradtionally beef but chicken, lamb, pork, whatever, will do)
- 2 to 8 cans or bottles of Guinness
- some flour
- salt and pepper
- a green pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 to 2 cups cut-up carrots
- 1 to 2 cups cut-up celery
- 2 to 4 cups cut up potatoes
- a turnip, diced
- a large onion, sliced thin
- several cloves of garlic
- 1 lb mushrooms
There are some optional veggies you can add to the stew such as green beans, kidney beans, brussels sprouts, leek, scallions, broccoli, and even raisins. Have them ready if you wish.
Get a large, deep frying pan, a big soup-pot, and a broad-mouthed, wide dish. You may wish to get a big bowl, as well.
Dump the cut-up vegetables with the exception of the onions and the mushrooms (and the garlic, but that’s not cut up, now is it) in the soup-pot to get them out of the way. A bowl is fine too. If you put them in the soup-pot you need to be OK with dumping your starter stock on top of the raw veggies, which may be a mite messy.
Now put a cup or so of the flour into the broad dish. Add salt and pepper and some spices – whatever sounds good is fine. Oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, even a dab of ground mustard or allspice. The flour should be flecked with the spices and smell aromatic.
UPDATE: Now cut up or slice the mushrooms.
Now fire up the saucepan. If it’s nonstick, you may not want to add oil; otherwise add something to keep the fry from sticking. I use olive oil, corn oil or butter works fine too. Once the pan’s ready (flick water in to test; when the water sizzles and skates, you’re good to go) quickly dredge the cubed meat in the flour and add it to the pan, a handful at a time. Stir and reduce the heat in the pan slightly.
Once the meat’s started to cook, add the onions and the mushrooms. Salt and pepper. As the pan cooks, add the flour that did not travel with the meat into the pan; stir it so that it browns.
The mushrooms and the flour will absorb the oil in the pan, if you’re using any; feel free to add some more as that happens. Add the garlic during this period of time as well. You can chop it up, or use a garlic press, or pound it and then chop it up, whatever you like.
Once the flour begins to turn into a paste (you should be aiming to use at least a cup of flour here – getting it browned and saturated with beef juice and oil provides a thickener for your stew), and the meat is pretty well cooked, open two cans of Guinness. Pour about half of one into the pan with the meat. It will foam up, so add it cautiously. Keep stirring and adding the beer until a whole can is in.
Drink the other can as you do this.
Now reduce the heat a little bit more. Allow the pan to come to a simmer.
If you’ve added the veggies to the soup-pot earlier, you may want to put another can of beer in the pot now and fire up the burner; otherwise transfer the simmering beef and beer into the soup pot and fire up the burner.
Add another can of beer now if you haven’t already – the total should be two cans, one in the frying pan originally and one in the soup-pot. If you’ve held the veggies, allow the liquid in the soup pot to boil – it will foam, keep an eye on it – and add the vegetables.
Allow the liquid to return to a boil and then reduce the heat to a lowish point. That will change the boil to a simmer, which is what we want. Cover. Allow the stew to simmer for at least two hours. More time is fine. Be sure to stir the stew every so often so it won’t cook onto the sides of the pot.
UPDATE: feel free to add either more beer or some water if a) two cans don’t cover everything, a likelihood or b) the beer has boiled down too much. Don’t be afraid to improvise!
(Although if you use a sock or a rock or chunk of pla-doh or something don’t tell your spouse unless they come right out and ask very specific questions about what’s gotten into you this time and just how much of that damn beer did you have anyway and is there any left?)
About 45 minutes before you serve, remove the stew from the heat. Keep it covered. 15 minutes before you serve, stir and check the temperature by tasting. It shouldn’t scald; if it does, uncover. If it’s too cool, replace on heat, and heat on low until you’re happy with the temperature.
Serve with the beer and a baguette. Yummmmm.