St. Patrick’s Day.
Did you know that some thirty four million American’s are of Irish heritage? Did you know that there is a Shamrock, Oklahoma? Did you know that the harp is the symbol of Ireland? Did you know that for every one four-leaf clover, there are 10,000 regular three-leafed ones and that the record for the most number of leaves on a clover is fourteen? Did you know that Irish Beef Guinness Stew is absolutely delicious?
Did you also know that in Dublin during their St. Patrick’s Day celebration, that they paint the yellow street lines green? In fact, there is a lot to do with green in Ireland, from the rolling and beautiful hills, to the green stripe down their flag that causes us to associate St. Patty’s Day as a green-themed holiday. And if you don’t wear green, well, someone is going to pinch you!
There is just something fun about it! Dating back to my childhood, we always read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess in school on St. Patty’s day, and even had green eggs in one of my classes. Talk about gross. Green scrambled eggs were just not the best thing to look at. You know how they tell you to put a green light in your refrigerator to help you diet due to the unappetizing glow it casts on your food?
Well, somehow at St. Patrick’s Day, we tend to color everything green, from beer and yes, to even our underwear (to avoid the pinching thing!) in the spirit of things, but there is a better way to find the spirit of the Saint this holiday is named after.
Make some Irish Beef Guinness Stew.
No, it’s not green but it is thick and hearty and rich! You will love the glistening Guinness-based broth that floats around tender pieces of carmelized beef and infuses the equally tender pieces of vegetables that swim luxuriously in it.
Start out by cutting two pounds of chuck roast into one-inch cubes. Trim off most of the fat from the meat as you cut.
Traditionally in Ireland, they would be probably use lamb in this dish, and if you’re adventurous, just try it! I used beef, as I figured it was more widely accessible here in the southwest for everyone.
Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. And then take half of your beef and dump it into a bowl and sprinkle it with 1/4 cup of flour. Take some tongs and toss it up to coat it well.
Then add two tablespoons of olive oil into a heavy bottomed skillet and heat it up on medium high. Drop in your meat and turning it so all sides cook, let it get nicely carmelized and brown on all sides. Then remove it to a plate and do the same with the second half of your meat.
I have to tell you, at this point, both dogs were standing staring at me in the kitchen begging for a bite and I even snuck one for myself.
Remove the second set of meat and add it to the first set on the plate.
Now, chop up one large onion. Add it right into the pot (add a little more oil if need be!).
Saute the onion for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of tomato paste and stir it around for a minute (not pictured), and then dump in one box of beef broth.
Add your meat back into the pot and also add one bottle of Guinness Extra Stout.
You won’t believe what this does to the broth. MMmmm.
Around since 1759, this is Ireland’s pride and joy and has a caramelized flavor (almost chocolatey) from the roasted unmalted barley used to make the beer. And it’s going to make the stew wonderfully dark and lovely and robust.
Pop the lid on your pot and simmer this concoction for about 45 minutes.
Then add in some veggies. Roughly chop up one 8 oz. package of whole cremini mushrooms. Also chunk up 3-4 good sized red potatoes. You want about 4-6 cups (depending on how thick you want your stew). Chop up four carrots and 2 parsnips. Parsnips look like white carrots and are sweet and wonderful.
After 45 minutes, add in your vegetables to the pot.
My herbs happened to live through the winter this year due to our remarkably mild weather, so I added in a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of thyme.
Put the lid back on and simmer these again for about 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender when you poke a fork into them. Taste for seasoning. I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt and about 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
And then ladle up this savory goodness into some bowls.
The broth is amazing. Full bodied and mahogany dark in its silken smooth sauce, it just wraps itself around the meat and vegetables in pure goodness. It’s the kind of meal you want to eat on a rainy day or mop up with a good hearty toasted piece of bread. Sprinkle it with some chopped parsley if you like.
And bring a little bit of the “luck O’ the Irish” into your home this year!
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