Guinness Beef Stew

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There is nothing better on a cold winter (or spring!!) day than a hot, hearty bowl of stew and this version is OUT OF THIS WORLD! This stew has such a rich, well-developed flavor that I promise you, once you try this version you might never make it your old way again! I thought that red wine made my stew perfection but using the Guinness was even better, having it both cook with the stew and as a finishing touch at the end added two layers of flavor that was so delicious.

I came across this recipe in a new cookbook that I just bought which is put out by the Cook’s Country TV show entitled, The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook: 10th Anniversary Edition , and it’s an AMAZING cookbook. There are so many incredible recipes from soups to breakfasts to desserts. Everything is clearly explained and well thought out, it’s definitely worth adding to your cookbook collection!

The original recipe calls for the use of chicken broth but I much prefer the richness of stock instead, I think it adds a much better flavor to the finished stew. What is interesting about this recipe is that they eliminate the step of searing and browning the meat before cooking. By cooking the stew uncovered in the oven it allows the meat to take on a flavorful browning and as the liquid in the stew reduces down the overall flavor becomes even more rich and concentrated. Great time-saving technique!

Lastly, I love to cook stews in my large enameled cast iron Dutch oven, it’s a great size at 6 qts and it retains heat well and cooks so beautifully. You can spend hundreds on a Dutch oven pot, especially ones made by Le Creuset®, Staub®, etc., but Lodge® puts out a really excellent product that costs pennies compared to other brands. I picked up this Lodge® Dutch oven on Amazon for only $45!! That’s a crazy deal! If you’re interested in getting one for yourself, just click here to order. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 (3.5 – 4lb) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled at seams and trimmed into 1.5″ pieces OR good quality pre-cut stew meat
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped finely
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I prefer Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 1 1/4 cups Guinness Draught
  • 1 1/2 tbs packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 lb carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 tbs minced fresh parsley

Instructions

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325ºF. Season the beef with Kosher salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/4 tsp Kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Add tomato paste and garlic and cook until rust-colored and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock, 3/4 cup of Guinness, sugar and thyme, scrape up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in beef and return to a simmer. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, for 90 minutes. Stir halfway through cooking.

Stir in the potatoes and carrots and continue cooking until the beef and vegetables are tender, about an hour. Stir halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of Guinness and parsley. Adjust seasonings and serve hot.

**Tip – This stew goes really well with a warm loaf of my delicious Beer Bread .**

 

“How-To” Cooking – Roasting (Vegetables)

Roasting is an excellent way to bring out an extra depth of flavor in most vegetables. The slight crisp to the edges that roasting gives also adds a nice textural component to the vegetable as well. Root vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips are traditional choices for roasting however, other vegetables such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, onions, and peppers are also excellent choices. The best thing about roasting is that it is super easy and requires very little effort.

To roast vegetables, first cut up the vegetables into bite sized chunks. Then toss them in a good olive oil until they are nicely coated and glossy. Season the vegetables liberally with Kosher salt and fresh black pepper and then spread them out on a cookie sheet leaving some space between the vegetables. Roast the vegetables at 425ºF until they pierce easily with a fork and there is some charred bits on the edges. The charred bits are what make the roasted vegetables taste so good therefore, don’t hesitate to roast the vegetables a little longer to get that char even though they might already be tender.

For more information on roasting, click here .

Potato Croquettes

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There are three things that I love most in the world. My husband. My kids. And mashed potatoes. I mean honestly, what is better than creamy, buttery, homemade mashed potatoes smothered in steaming hot gravy? Almost nothing UNLESS of course you turn those scrumptious mashed potatoes in a crispy potato croquette.

Because I adore mashed potatoes so much I usually end up making way too much when I cook them so I inevitably will have leftovers. Most times I have too many leftovers to eat before it’s time to toss them so I like to put those potatoes to good use before that happens, That is where potato croquettes come in. They are really simple to make as most of the work is already done for you. The first time that I made them I used straight mashed potatoes and nothing else. They were absolutely divine but I wanted to up the ante so the next time I made them I added diced ham (or prosciutto) in the croquettes along with small chunks of mozzarella cheese. Absolute heaven! I usually double this recipe because I would rather have “too many” potato croquettes than not enough. You can always freeze what is left and then bake them off the next time a craving hits. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of cooled mashed potatoes
  • 2 tbs finely minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

Combine the cooled mashed potatoes, onion, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix until well combined.

Set up 3 bowls, one for the egg, one for the breadcrumbs, and one for the flour.

Form the potato mixture into 2-3″ logs. Dip them first in flour, then egg, and then breadcrumbs.

Attach a deep fry thermometer to the side of a large pot. Add the oil and heat until it reaches 350ºF. Maintain the temperature between 350-375ºF while frying.

Add the potato croquettes to the hot oil, 3-4 at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack or paper towel lined plate. Cool slightly and serve.

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Homemade Mashed Potatoes

 

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I could eat homemade mashed potatoes allllllll day long. Seriously. They are awesome! Not to mention super easy to make and WAY better than any store bought or boxed version of mashed potatoes. To make mashed potatoes you can use any basic, high starch potato such as a Russet however, I think that Yukon Gold potatoes make the absolute best potatoes because they are so buttery and creamy. Trust me, use Yukon Golds and you’ll never go back to your old potato again!

There are a few key tips you should follow in order to get a good quality bowl of mashed potatoes:

  • Cut the potatoes into even sized pieces – Irregular cut potato chunks will result in uneven cooking, some pieces will be mushy while others will remain too firm
  • Start them in COLD water If you start the potatoes in hot water they will cook unevenly
  • Generously salt the water – The salt will be absorbed into the potatoes as the starch granules swell
  • Drain them well – Soaked, wet potatoes won’t make for a good final product
  • Add room temp or warmed ingredients – Cold ingredients won’t be absorbed as well and they will also cool down the potatoes 
  • Season them wellPotatoes that aren’t properly seasoned will taste bland and boring
  • Don’t overwork them – If you mix them too much or over beat them you will release all of the starch in the potatoes and the result will be gummy, gluey potatoes

Personally, I don’t scrimp when I make mashed potatoes. I go all out with a lot of butter, heavy cream, and loads of salt and pepper. If you’re looking for a lighter version you can always reduce the amount of butter as well as replace the heavy cream with half and half or milk. The potatoes won’t be as rich but they will still be good.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 stick salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and add a small handful of salt to the pot.

Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat down to medium high. Cook the potatoes until a knife can easily poke through them, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the potatoes well.

Using a ricer, squeeze the potatoes through into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the salt and pepper, all of the butter, and about half of the warmed heavy cream. On the lowest setting, mix the potatoes using the paddle attachment. Slowly drizzle in more heavy cream until your mashed potatoes reach the desired consistency. Be sure you don’t overwork the potatoes. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot.

**Tip** – If you prefer a more chunky mashed potato, skip the ricer and just use a potato masher to break up the potatoes. Also, if you don’t have a stand mixer, an electric mixer set to low will also work fine.

Variation – For garlic mashed potatoes add 1-2 heads of roasted garlic to the potatoes during mixing. Use 2 heads of garlic if you like a stronger garlic flavor.

To make the roasted garlic simply cut the top off of a head of garlic and remove as much of the papery skin as you can. Place the garlic heads in a tin foil “pouch” and drizzle them generously with a good olive oil. (I happen to LOVE the flavored oils from The Amazing Olive in Port Jefferson, NY) Sprinkle the garlic with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, seal the tin foil pouch, and bake in a 450 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes. 

When you remove the garlic from the oven, it should look nicely browned and roasted through. Let the garlic cool off for a few minutes and then very carefully lift one bulb at a time and squeeze from the bottom until all of the delicious roasted garlic is released. It should slide out VERY easily from its skin at this point. Give the roasted garlic a little stir to break everything up and then it’s ready to go! 

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