Irish Stew with Butternut Woods Farms Beef & Guinness

Stew?  In June?  Shouldn't I be craving burgers or brats on the grill?  It's not cold or rainy, which usually gets me wanting something hearty.  I don't know why but I really wanted a good hearty stew today so I made one!

I consulted my go-to source for recipes when I need one "like now" and don't have one already picked out or a favorite I want to make, Cook's Illustrated.  I found an Irish stew recipe that sounded like it would be good (it had potatoes and carrots in it, not just meat) and as an added bonus I had all the ingredients in the house.

The star of this stew was, of course, the beef, two pounds of grass-fed Highland beef from Butternut Woods Farm.

In addition to the beef the stew had carrots, parsnips, potatoes and onions and was seasoned with garlic, thyme and bay leaves and included an entire can of Guinness beer.

The beef is patted dried and seasoned with salt and pepper.  As we all know from Julie Child, drying the beef helps it brown in the pan!

Once the beef is browned it's removed from the pan, a little more oil is added and the onions are cooked until they are tender.  I love the smell of sauteing onions, onions sauteing in beef drippings, well, I could have eaten them with a spoon!

In goes the garlic, tomato paste and flour which are cooked until thick.  There are lots of little delicious brown bits on the bottom of the pan at this point.  Chicken stock and that can of Guinness are used to deglaze!

The beef is then added back to the pan with the herbs, thyme and bay leaves, and a little brown sugar.  Once this is simmering, it is covered and placed in the oven for an hour.  The kitchen already was smelling amazing!

After an hour the stew looks like this.  See all that yummy fat?  I knew this stew was going to taste so good!

The potatoes, carrots and parsnips are added and the stew goes back in the oven for another hour.

What comes out is this thick, delicious stew!  When Dave walked in the house the first words out of his mouth were "something smells really good."

I served it with bread I made earlier in the day in my crock pot.  Yes, I baked bread in my crock pot!  Don't believe me?  Check it out HERE.

I think I mentioned the stew was delicious, it was.  The potatoes, carrots and parsnips were tender and juicy and the beef melted in your mouth.  It didn't taste like a can of Guinness (which was good because I don't like Guinness) but the broth had a richness that had to come from the beer.  The herbs came through even with everything else going on in the dish.  Dave and I decided that a stew this good required one of our favorite wines, Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel.

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