BeerUnion Beef Stew

Thursday I had my fourth Snow Day of the year (I capitalize these words because to me, a Snow Day is a holiday).  Friday was supposed to be the 90th day of kindergarten, the halfway point, but now that’s been pushed off until Monday.  Anyway, since I had finished my report cards already and didn’t have any schoolwork at home with me to do, I decided it would be a great day to cook up the Irish beef stew that Mike and I bought the supplies for over the weekend.  After two miserable hours (ok, I’m whining/exaggerating a bit, but I desperately want a garage) of shoveling snow to get my car cleared out for work tomorrow (left), I warmed myself up by starting dinner (at 4 p.m. …instead of watching Oprah…and her last season nonetheless!  Bear in mind there are VERY few days from September through June that I get to watch Oprah and I gave it up to COOK.  What?!  What is happening to me?!  I must have been wicked hungry and/or delirious from muscle fatigue and/or on crack).

Recently, I’ve wanted to cook something with Murphy’s Irish Stout, my all-time favorite beer.  I searched online to see what recipes were out there and found a recipe on simplyrecipes.com for a beef stew that sounded delicious.  I modified the recipe a bit, substituting Murphy’s for Guinness, and adding celery.  The final recipe I used was as follows:

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
2 cups of Murphy’s Irish Stout (1 can)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup of chopped celery
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

METHOD

1 Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Murphy’s, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2 While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion, celery and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.  (My veggies took a bit longer to cook because of the pan I was using…)

3 Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Can be prepared up to two days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)

Serves 4 to 6.

Since I was (im)patiently waiting for Mike to come home from work, the stew simmered for almost 2 hours before we finally ate.  On the couch.  Watching Mad Men on DVD.  Pretty standard for Team Manta.

The stew was just as fantastic as I had hoped it would be – it was thicker than I had expected due to the extended simmering time, but the vegetables and beef were incredibly tender (ew I can’t believe I just said that) and there’s something extraordinary about it that I just can’t put my finger on.  Oh yeah, that’s right…Murphy’s Irish Stout.  Slainte!  (Thanks to answers.com, that means “Cheers!” in Gaelic.  So, yes…Slainte!)

– Ashley

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