Monday, March 1, 2010

Ye Big Ol' Pot of Irish Stew

So, I must admit that this post is LONG overdue!!! I promise the cooking has continued even though the blogging has not. This has left me with a long list of delicious concoctions that deserve a proper posting, although most likely they will receive a castrated version of their former glory (however, some cultures really value eunuchs).

I digress: this pot of stew was the perfect winter warm-me-up and it fed my 2 roommates and me for about a week and a half! The thing that makes this stew so great is the really rich broth. Don't get me wrong the medley of delicious veggies and perfectly tender meat was scrumptious, but the broth was so flavorful that I could have lived off the liquid alone for a week and a half and still been satiated.

The other great thing was how easy it was: chop, stir, wait, stir, wait, stir, eat, stir, get the idea.

What you'll need:
1 1/2 lb. Stew Beef
1 lb Red Potatoes
1 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Large Yellow Onion
3 c. Carrots, Chopped
4 stalks Celery, Chopped
1 Large Head of Garlic (8-10 cloves)
6 c. Beef Stock (I like starting with low sodium so I can control how salty to make it)
1 c. Red Wine (anything will do, I used a Pino Noir)
1 1/4 c. Guinness (almost one whole big can of theirs)
1 Tbl. Dried Thyme
1 Tbl. Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

All you do: Chop your meat into 1 inch cubes and brown in the pot with some olive oil. after a few minutes add in the crushed garlic (don't chop it even if you're tempted, the smashed cloves will break up and then later you get sweet garlic pieces...yum!). After another minute or so add in your stock, wine, Guinness, tomato paste, Worcestershire's, and herbs. Let the mixture boil and then reduce the heat to low and cover.

While the beef and liquids are simmering away, cut up all of your vegetables then brown them in a big pot with the butter (about 15 min or so). They don't have to cook through, they will do this in the stew, but it gives them a little more of a caramelized flavor.

Add the veggies to the beef and broth mixture and simmer for another 30-40 minutes. Stir every once in a while to prevent sticking to the bottom and sides. Thicken if you want to with a little roux of cornstarch or flour and water (I didn't find this necessary. It's stew, not a thick soup, I liked the thinner broth with the chunky veggies). Make sure to remove the bay leaves before you serve it.

Honestly, I don't usually even like stew. But this one will become a yearly tradition... maybe even bi-yearly (and that's saying a lot for me)!

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