Fall weather means time for stew. A rich, satisfying Guinness Beef Stew is a perfect dinner for chilly November, when evenings grow darker, and the body seeks comfort food.
This is Irish comfort food at its best.
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Low and Slow Crockpot Stew Cooking
My recipe for Guinness beef stew cooks slowly in a crockpot for many hours, allowing its distinctive flavors to meld together.
I call this American-Irish fusion food, since very few Irish people have ever laid eyes on a crock pot.
Once I discovered this amazing kitchen appliance, I became a fan. My husband now calls me "The Crockpot Crackpot".
Slow cooking ensures tough cuts of beef grow tender and succulent and absorb the deep wonderful flavors of the stout.
Cooking Stew With Stout
Guinness is Ireland's favorite stout, and one of the most popular beers in the world. Stout is a very dark, heavy-bodied beer that has a white, foam head when poured into a glass.
Dark stouts are very popular in Great Britain and Ireland. It's much stronger than pale ale or beer and are made with roasted malt barley. Guinness is a true taste of Ireland.
Another favorite stew in Ireland is Dublin Coddle, which is a sausage and bacon stew.
Now if you prefer to cook without alcohol, I have a Farmhouse Beef Stew recipe, which is cooked on the stove top, which you might prefer.
Some people consider Guinness stew to be a classic traditional Irish stew, but technically a true Irish stew is made with mutton or lamb. That's a recipe for another day.
But now let's get back to my Guinness Beef Stew recipe. This dark stout adds a lovely depth of flavors to this stew gravy. Guinness tends to be a little bitter, but with deep coffee-like flavors.
I sweeten it with brown sugar, and my secret ingredient, bittersweet dark chocolate chips.
The stew ingredients are pictured here, minus the flour, corn starch and oil for frying the beef. Here is the complete list:
Ingredients for Irish Guinness Beef Stew
Here's a list of ingredients for my Guinness beef stew. You'll find exact quantities in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, together with nutritional information.
Here's what you'll need.
- stewing beef (well trimmed and cut into one inch chunks)
- flour (for coating the beef)
- salt and pepper (to season dredging flour)
- canola or vegetable oil (for pre-cooking the beef)
- minced garlicfrozen pearl onions
- parsnips (julienned)
- baby carrots
- red potatoes (quartered)
- Guinness stout
- beef broth
- red wine vinegar
- dijon mustard
- soft brown sugar
- bittersweet chocolate chips
- dried thyme
- bay leaves
- ground cloves
- corn starch (for thickening stew at end of cooking)
- beef broth (to mix with corn starch to thicken stew)
This stew cooks slowly so there's no need to use a very lean cut of beef. Stewing beef is just fine. It will tenderise as it cooks. Beef chuck or chuck roast works great.
My vegetables of choice are parsnips, carrots, onions and potatoes cut into bite-size pieces. You can add turnips or rutabaga if you wish, or some celery can also be used.
I don't add tomatoes or tomato paste, since these aren't traditional Irish beef stew ingredients.
I chose red potatoes, but you could use russet or yukon gold potatoes if you prefer.
Directions For Irish Guinness Beef Stew
The first step is to prepare all those wonderful veggies.
Prepare the vegetables by cutting the parsnips into strips the same length as the baby carrots.
Cut the potatoes into quarters or eighths depending upon the size of the potato. I leave skins on red potatoes. I think they add texture and flavor.
I use a package of pearl onions rather than dicing a large onion and pre-frying it.
My husband does not like the texture of onions, so when I use pearl onions I can easily remove them from his serving, without having to sacrifice their delicious flavor.
Dump all of the vegetables into a crock pot.
I use a very large 7-quart crock pot for this recipe. If your crock pot is smaller you will need to halve the ingredients.
Season the flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish or bowl.
Toss in the beef and dredge in the flour, coating each individual beef chunk.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add half of the beef and brown on all sides. This takes 2 to 3 minutes per side, sealing in all the lovely juices and beef flavor.
Dump the beef on top of the vegetables in the crock pot and repeat with the second half of the beef.
Pour 1 cup of beef broth into a small measuring pitcher.
Add the red wine vinegar and dijon mustard. Mix well together.
Brown the garlic in the same pan as used for the beef. I use pre-minced garlic in oil from a jar, but feel free to peel and mince fresh garlic cloves.
Next, pour in the broth, vinegar and mustard mixture, stirring to lift any pieces of beef, brown bits or garlic from the bottom of the pan. Heat for one minute while stirring. Pour the mixture over the beef and vegetables in the crock pot.
Add the thyme, bay leaves and ground cloves to the crock pot mixture.
True Irish recipes for Guinness stew do not add chocolate, but this is a fusion recipe I created. I find chocolate is wonderful for counteracting the bitterness of the Guinness.
I was inspired by Mexican cooking to add this unusual ingredient. But trust me, it really works and gives this stew an incredible flavor.
Add the Guinness to the crock pot, together with the beef stock and water. You can leave out the water and substitute with an additional cup of beef broth, but I find a little bit of water, prevents the flavors being overly intense.
I do believe Guinness is the only option for this stew, unless you live in Ireland and can get your hands on a bottle of Murphy's stout instead. Any American dark ales or stouts lack the distinctive flavor of Irish stout. Rest assured, the folks at Guinness have never heard of me. I am just Irish and love the flavor of real Guinness in this stew.
Put the lid on the crock pot, and simmer on the low setting for 10 to 12 hours. I know this is not a very accurate time measurement, but all crock pots are different.
The stew is done when the vegetables are tender. Check the potatoes too. They are the last to fully soften. Try to avoid lifting the lid of the crock pot too often during cooking. When heat escapes, cooking time is extended.
This stew can also be cooked on the stove top in a Dutch oven. It takes about 3 hours to simmer on a low heat. Do not boil the stew vigorously, since this will make the meat tough.
When the meat and vegetables are cooked through, mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch with about a quarter cup of cold beef broth.
Make sure the broth is cold, since hot liquid will make corn starch clump. Mix them well together, ensuring the liquid is smooth forming a slurry.
This stew can be thickened with regular flour instead of corn starch, but I find it takes longer to fully cook the added flour. I much prefer corn starch, for easy thickening.
Add the blended corn starch and broth to the stew in the crock pot.
Mix well and let it cook on high heat for a further 20 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time to avoid any lumps.
Don't forget to remove the bay leaves before serving. Ladle into a large bowl. Guinness beef stew is delicious accompanied by Irish Brown Bread.
This stew is lick your lips good. It tastes even better a day or two after cooking, so it is perfect for left overs. It also freezes really well.
Recipe Card for Guinness Stew
Here is a printable version of this recipe.
Guinness Beef Stew
- 2 pounds stewing beef well trimmed and cut into one inch cubes
- ½ cup flour for coating the beef
- salt and pepper to season dredging flour
- 4 tablespoons canola oil for pre-cooking the beef
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 cups pearl onions frozen - about 12 oz package
- 3 parsnips julienned or cut into batons
- 16 ounces baby carrots 1 packet
- 2 pounds red potatoes quartered
- 1¼ cups Guinness stout 1 bottle (11 oz)
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
- ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 tablespoons corn starch for thickening stew at end of cooking
- ¼ cup beef broth to mix with corn starch to thicken stew
- Peel and julienne the parsnips into 2 inch long pieces to match the length of the baby carrots. Add the pearl onions, baby carrots, parsnips, and potato quarters into the bottom of the crock pot.
- Season the flour in a flat bowl and dredge the beef chunks.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the floured beef cubes and brown them on all sides. You may need to complete this in two steps depending on the size of your skillet.
- Remove the beef from the pan and add to the crock pot. Add the garlic to the skillet and brown for one minute.
- Mix 1 cup of the beef broth with the red wine vinegar and dijon mustard in a small pitcher. Pour into the pan, scraping the bottom to loosen any beef or garlic.
- Add the stock from the skillet, the additional beef stock, water and Guinness to the crock pot.
- Add the thyme, bay leaves, cloves, brown sugar and chocolate chips to the crock pot. Mix ingredients together.
- Place the lid on the crock pot and cook the stew on low for about 12 hours. Try not to lift the lid of the crock pot too often during cooking, since this can allow the heat escape and slow down cooking. The stew is done when the vegetables are tender.
- Put the corn starch in a small pitcher or bowl and blend with ¼ cup of cold beef broth, making sure the mixture is smooth. Turn the crock pot to high and add the thickening. Season the stew according to taste at this point. Cook for an additional 20 minutes to allow the stew to thicken. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaves and discard. Serve in a large soup bowl. Tastes great with Irish Brown Bread.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Happy crock pot cooking and enjoy.
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Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
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