New York is very gray and yucky today. Mother Nature has sent us chilly temperatures, gray skies and sideways rain, which is of course the loveliest kind of rain (NOT!!). You know sideways rain, right? Where the umbrella just doesn’t matter… No two ways about it, if you go outside, you’re getting soaked. Period. I am never a fan of this weather. I know some people love rain or a good thunderstorm, but I’m really not one of them. These days always leave me feeling a bit listless and sluggish. Fortunately, I have some very tasty leftover beef stew to keep me company!
A few days ago I made some amazing Guinness beef stew, and since the recipe made a ton, we’re still enjoying it. This stew is so lovely – beautiful grass-fed beef chuck, hearty root vegetables, bay leaves, deep stout beer, rich beef stock, and the secret ingredient – unsweetened chocolate! – all simmered together for 10 hours in my slow cooker. The house smelled wonderful and the result was delicious, warm, comforting stew.
Guinness beef stew, one of Ireland’s most iconic dishes, is different from regular beef stew, because Guinness beer has such a distinctive malty taste. If you use too much in the stew, the end result can be one of bitterness. I think probably everyone has been there at least once. The key is moderation in the amount of beer you add – a little goes a long way. And the secret ingredient of unsweetened chocolate was just genius! Its richness mellows the slight harshness from the beer and makes the whole stew very rich and smooth.
So wherever you live, I hope you are not having dreary weather, but if you are, consider warming up with this delicious stew!
Source: adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Reviews and Recipes 2008
4 lbs. boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 ½ cups Guinness stout, divided
1 tbs light brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
2 bay leaves
5 small carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and chopped
24 baby red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbs minced fresh parsley, for garnish
Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half the beef until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to your slow cooker with a slotted spoon and repeat with 2 more teaspoons of canola oil and the remaining beef.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and sauté the onions until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and garlic and cook a minute more. Now add the stock, 1 ¼ cups beer, brown sugar, thyme, chocolate (no need to chop it), and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer the entire mixture to the slow cooker.
Now add the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours, until the meat is very tender. Whisk the flour and the remaining ¼ cup beer in a small bowl. Make sure there are no lumps, then pour it into the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine, but try not to break up the meat chunks. Cook, covered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve the stew garnished with parsley.