Gameday Grub: Prepare thy Angus — Irish beef stew

Chef Aaron Bower's rich Irish Beef Stew will fortify you for the rigors of game day.

Chef Aaron Bowers’ rich Irish Beef Stew will fortify you for the rigors of game day.

Soup’s on!

We’re going to be breaking out the old soup pot once again this week, only this time we will be making a delightful Irish Beef Stew. This stew features cubed roast, store bought beef broth (I won’t tell if you don’t), and any dark Irish beer. I prefer Guinness Stout for this (about the only thing I really find Guinness good for), but if you have another favorite dark beer, go for it.

Now I know most of you think of a stew as nothing more than a thick soup, but in fact stew — or to be more precise, stewing – is not just the dish itself but also the action you take to cook it. Keep that in mind as you discover that this stew is not as thick as you are probably accustomed to. But hey, that’s the point of this whole article isn’t it?

So on this cold, gray day, grab your pot, and let’s get cooking!

What you need

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 cups chopped onion (about 3 onions)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef broth (preferably homemade, but if you must, please use the broth from a carton, not a can)
  • 1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout or any other dark Irish beer
  • 1 tablespoon raisins (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) diagonally sliced carrot (about 8 oz)
  • 1-1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) sliced baby red potatoes
  • 1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled turnip (about 8 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

To the kitchen!

To avoid finding rubbery bits in your stew, trim roast of any excess fat, silver skin, or other connective tissues before cubing.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Be careful not to overcrowd pan to avoid steaming the roast instead of browning it. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remainder of beef. I know this sounds like busy work, but trust me, the enhancement in flavor is well worth your time. Besides, it only takes 10 minutes, so get over it. You’ll have plenty of time to sit in your chair and watch TV while the stew is simmering.

Add the onion to pan; cook five minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook one minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. (This is called deglazing and is the basis for many a pan sauce. Remember this technique, as I’m quite sure we will be revisiting it later. The brown bits on the bottom of said pan are called fond, which is French for “bottom.”)

Return meat to pan. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrot, baby red potatoes, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remember the raisins are very much optional but they do add an earthy quality to the stew that is pleasant. Sprinkle with parsley.

Chef’s note

You may be tempted to use stew meat since it comes pre-cubed. If that is truly your thing, go for it, but I strongly urge you to roast instead. The texture and flavor the roast lends to the stew is well worth the extra effort. Never forget that stew meat is the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to cuts. Just think what that will do to your gourmet stew.

About the author

Born and raised in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I still live today after 29 years of life. I was surrounded by Green Bay Packers fans my whole life and by default became a Packers fan — just in time, too, as my first football memory was the game in which quarterback Don Majkowski injured his ankle and was replaced by a young backup named Brett Favre. When not watching football I enjoy cooking, as I made my living in the food industry for about six years, before moving on to a more comfortable day job. I also enjoy other sports such as mixed martial arts and major league baseball.