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Dutch Oven Irish Stew (with Guinness)

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Hearty Dutch oven Irish stew to celebrate St. Patrick’s day! Tender beef and vegetables smothered in a finger-licking Guinness stout gravy.

dutch oven with irish beef stew with a spoon in it, and mashed potatoes in a bowl.

Have you ever tried cooking with stout or beer? If not, you should definitely start by making this Dutch oven Irish stew. Those tender beef pieces, that amazingly rich and flavorful gravy… you will probably have to cook a double batch because everybody will go for seconds.

What can be more comforting than a rich warming stew? I cook lots and lots of stews, from the famous Hungarian beef goulash to chicken paprikash with dumplings, rabbit stew, sausage stews or vegetable stew.

Ingredients

Guinness:

  • What sets an Irish beef stew apart from the other stew recipes? The inclusion of the well-known dark Guinness, which you can enjoy in any Irish pub around the world. The iconic Irish beer or stout is dark, thick, creamy, and really like no other kind of beer.
  • The alcohol will evaporate during the long cooking time, all that’s left of it is the intense flavor and incredible richness in the sauce.
  • I can only buy it in liquor stores, in 4 or 6-packs around here, but it keeps for quite a while, so I am sure to cook this recipe at least twice every time I buy a pack of stout.
  • You could also make an incredible Guinness chocolate cake. Nigella Lawson’s Guinness cake is a regular in our house as well.

Meat:

  • The Guinness Irish stew can be made with lamb or beef. I like both versions, but as beef is usually not as expensive as lamb, I often choose beef and keep the lamb for making Romanian lamb stew, for instance.
  • Chuck beef is a part of meat cut from the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm of the beef.
  • It has a lot of connective tissues, which makes it a very good choice for long cooking in the sauce.
  • The long cooking process tenderizes this rather tough cut and the fat content ensures flavorful results.

Vegetables:

  • Onions, garlic, carrots, and celery.
  • Many people add potato cubes as well, but I prefer not to do it, and serve the stew with boiled or mashed potatoes on the side.
bowl with irish stew on top of mashed potatoes.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Beef: Cut the beef chuck into cubes, about 3 cm/ 1.2 inches. Dry well with paper towels.
  • Flour meat: Mix flour, salt, and pepper. Add some of the beef cubes and toss to coat with the flour. Pat gently to remove the excess flour (1).

bowl with floured beef cubes for stew.
  • Brown beef: Heat oil in the Dutch oven over high heat. Add some meat cubes and brown all over; about 5 minutes per batch (2,3).
  • Remove onto a plate and repeat with the remaining beef. I usually brown the meat in 3 or 4 batches.
  • Do not overcrowd the pot. You might add a little more oil after about two batches if the pot seems too dry.

collage of two pictures of browning meat cubes.
  • Vegetables: Chop them while the meat browns. Keep the onions separated from the rest.
  • Cook vegetables: Add the remaining oil to the pot and lower the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes, often stirring. Add garlic, carrot, and celery and cook for another 5 minutes. (4)
  • Add sugar, tomato paste, and thyme stir very well for about 1 minute.
  • Pour in the Guinness and deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom.
  • Return the beef and its juices to the pot. Add the bay leaves and enough beef broth just to cover the meat (5).

collage of two pictures of cooking vegetables for stew.
  • Simmer: Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 2 ½ hours or until the meat is really tender and almost falls apart.
  • Thicken: If the sauce is too thick after 2 ¼ hours, remove the lid and continue cooking the stew until the sauce has thickened as much as you like it.
  • Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and serve as suggested above.

Expert tips

The pot:

  • Use a thick-bottomed pot to make the beef stew, a cast-iron Dutch oven is the best kind of dish to use for a good stew (Amazon affiliate link).

Cut the beef:

  • Cut the chuck across the grain into relatively large chunks.
  • The Guinness stew recipe needs to simmer for a long time in order to develop that incredibly rich flavor, and if the pieces of meat are too small, they will cook too soon and kind of disintegrate in the sauce.
  • I cut the meat into cubes that are approximately 3 cm/ 1.2 inches large.

Flour the beef cubes:

  • Tossing the beef cubes with a small amount of flour before browning has several advantages: it adds depth of flavor to the dish, the beef cubes will have a nice roasted crust and the flour will help thicken the sauce.

Fry the meat in batches:

  • Brown the meat in batches. I have a large Dutch oven, but I still need 3-4 batches to cook this amount of stewing meat.
  • I know that it takes its time, but it is really worth it. Just think about the fact that after you’ve done that and added the rest of the ingredients to the pot, there will not be much more for you to do, except a bit of stirring.
  • If you overcrowd the pan the beef cubes will never get nicely browned, too much juice will be released and the beef will cook in its own juices rather than being browned.
  • Don’t clean the pot after frying the meat, those darker bits will impart more flavor into the stew.

Recipe FAQ

Can I cook this in advance?

The Dutch oven Irish stew can be made in advance and then reheated. Just like all stews, this dish tastes even better the next day.

What about leftovers?

Refrigerate for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Reheat well on the stovetop. Add a splash of broth or water if too thick and stir often.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat slowly as instructed above.

How to serve Guinness stew?

As mentioned above, I love to serve the Irish beef stew with boiled or mashed potatoes. Another great option is soda bread, a typical Irish bread made without yeast.

stirring in a dutch oven with irish stew with a wooden spoon.

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stirring in a dutch oven with irish stew with a wooden spoon.

Dutch Oven Irish Stew (with Guinness)

Hearty Guinness Irish stew to celebrate St. Patrick’s day! Tender beef and vegetables smothered in a finger-licking Guinness stout gravy.
4.67 from 3 votes
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Course: Meat Recipes
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 629kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Dutch oven

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 lbs beef chuck 1 kg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bottle/can Guinness 15 fl.oz/ 440 ml
  • ½ cup beef broth slightly more if necessary, 4 fl. oz/ 125 ml Note
  • fine sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  • Beef: Cut the beef chuck into cubes, about 3 cm/ 1.2 inches. Place them on paper towels and pat them dry with more paper towels.
  • Flour beef: Place the flour in a large bowl, add some salt and pepper, and mix well. Add some of the beef cubes and toss to coat with the flour. Pat gently to remove the excess flour.
  • Brown beef: Heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add some beef cubes and brown all over; this will take about 5 minutes per batch. Remove onto a plate and repeat with the remaining beef (Note 2).
  • Vegetables: While the meat browns, chop the vegetables. Keep the onions separated from the rest. Set aside.
  • Cook vegetables: Add the remaining oil to the pot and lower the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes until softer. Stir often. Add the garlic, carrot, and celery and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the sugar, tomato paste, and dried thyme, stir very well for about 1 minute. Pour in the Guinness and deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom.
  • Return the beef and its juices to the pot. Add the bay leaves and enough beef broth just to cover the meat.
  • Simmer: Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 2 ½ hours or until the meat is really tender and almost falls apart.
  • Thicken: If the sauce is too thick after 2 ¼ hours, remove the lid and continue cooking the stew until the sauce has thickened as much as you like it.
  • Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

  1. It is preferable to use low sodium broth and adjust the taste with more salt at the end, if necessary.
  2. I usually brown the meat in 3 or 4 batches. Do not overcrowd the pot. You might add a little more oil after about two batches if the pot seems too dry.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the dish | Calories: 629kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 83g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 248mg | Sodium: 615mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g
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Recipe Rating




mjskitchen

Monday 15th of March 2021

I love braising with a dark beer and agree about the flavor it adds to the dish. Pork is usually my go to meat but your use of beef looks delicious and I'm sure it holds up to the Guinness quite well. Happy St. Patrick's Day!