The other day I was talking to my friend Autumn about possible Saint Patrick’s Day plans…She mentioned that she was planning to make some Guinness beef stew that day.
I think you all know where this is going.
I’ve had beef stew on the brain ever since that conversation and after searching for HOURS (ok, ten minutes tops) I found a recipe that sounded perfect. I should probably confess that I’ve never used a crock pot before and I was ridiculously excited to try it out.
The recipe I found is here. I omitted the mushrooms because I don’t like slimy things floating around in my stew and my brother thinks he might be allergic. I pretty much followed the rest of the recipe as it was written, but I changed it to five servings so it would fit in my crock pot.
Some of the recipes I found called for Guinness Extra Stout but since I already had regular ol’ Guinness in my fridge I used that. I also found some angus stew meat at Kroger that looked pretty good… I did have to trim some fat off but that could just be because I’m super disgusted by any fat on my meat at all. You could also go to your grocery store’s meat counter and have them cut up whatever hunk of cow you pick out.
I’m all kinds of proud of myself for picking the beef out AND trimming it. Can I mention here that I hate how grocery stores package meat? They put the nice chunks on top and then when you get to the middle and bottom of the package you find pieces that are almost entirely fat. Boo to you, Kroger.
The recipe says to coat the meat in seasoned flour and then brown the outsides…I can’t really remember what ended up in the flour but I used just about every dry spice in my cupboard. You’ll want to brown the meat in small batches and then transfer the pieces to a paper towel lined plate.
I only used four red potatoes, but I added more carrots and celery. I think I ended up with five carrots and two stalks of celery. I also put TWO bay leaves in because I’m such a rebel.
Because I halved the recipe, it said to use one can of beef broth, one can of tomato sauce and about four ounces of Guinness. Once I had everything in there it looked kind of empty…Being the total rebel I am, I added another can of beef broth and tomato sauce. I also used the ENTIRE BOTTLE of Guinness. Look out guys, I’m in a rule-breaking mood over here. I also had cookies for breakfast. Somebody stop me!
Uh… Where was I? Oh, beef stew.
So once it was all assembled it looked like this:
I set it on low and left it all day… And it smelled so wonderful that I had to leave my house because otherwise I might have eaten it all by myself.
So I went out and spent 200.00 on new clothes. Seemed like the right thing to do.
It had been cooking on low for about seven hours when I just couldn’t take it anymore and gave it a taste. Even though I hadn’t added any salt, it definitely tasted way too salty…And at first I thought it was ruined. I wasn’t about to give up, though. I added about two cups of water and then, just in case, I added one peeled potato (whole). I didn’t expect it to cook enough to be eaten, but I hoped it would absorb some of the extra salt. I removed the bay leaves and checked the potatoes and carrots. They weren’t as soft as I wanted them to be so I cranked that puppy to high for the last couple of hours and hoped they would soften.
The roomies got home and Stef made a beeline for the crock pot…
I had a loaf of French bread and some Kerrygold Irish Butter that I originally just intended to set on the table. Instead, I arranged some big slices of bread on a pizza pan, spread an obscene amount of butter on them and put them under the broiler on low for a few minutes. YUM.
Well, it was definitely more of a soup than a stew…adding that extra liquid was likely the issue there. It tasted really good, but there was a bitterness to it. My brother thinks it was from the tomato sauce and I’m inclined to agree. Next time I’ll try V8 juice.
I think I’ll go with just one bay leaf and lay off the Italian seasoning next time…and I didn’t notice the Cajun seasoning at all so I’ll likely leave that out, too.
BUT all in all I think everyone was pretty happy with it. Hope so, ’cause we have a TON of leftovers!