Everybody has their own go-to comfort food. You know what I mean, That one food that you’ll look out for or cook every single time you need a pick-me-up or frequent cravings of it, especially in the middle of the night. For most people, these comfort foods can vary from crispy fried chicken to decadent chocolate cake. But for me, the ultimate comfort food is Guinness beef stew.
First of all, before I get into my story of how I discovered my love for stews, especially Guinness beef stew, I have one question to ask you. Have you tried it before? No? Go ahead and skip to the recipe below.
Finding Comfort in Guinness Beef Stew
I am not a big fan of soups. They remind me of childhood memories best forgotten. Nothing traumatic, don’t worry. It’s just that, soups, stews and broths just reminds me of being sick. But that was before I discovered Guinness Beef Stew.
It was during one of my mother’s experimental cooking phases where she would randomly pick a recipe and try it out. And for some reason, she chose to make a pot of stew. Now, when your mom cooks something new, she needs a tester and what I learned while growing up is, NEVER say no when a mom who is tired and anxious cooking something she has never made before, asks you to help ‘taste’ it, even though you don’t like what she is making. So, out of love and fear of my mom’s wooden ladle, I took a deep breath and put the spoonful of unappetizing, thick slop into my mouth.
Lo and behold, I was a changed man! The flavours were rich and decadent, with a slight Guinness bitterness that I have grown to love and appreciate. Decidedly, punchy, it was more comforting than any other foods I thought were incomparable before. There and then, I have decided, nothing means home or comfort other than a good bowl of Guinness beef stew. And now, it’s time for you to experience my transformation from indifferent to a fan of stew.
- 1kg of beef chuck, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 625ml (1 large bottle) of Guinness Stout Beer
- 12 strips of beef bacon, cut into small bits
- 4 potatoes, peeled, washed and cut to cubes o f 8 each
- 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled, washed and cut to 1- inch pieces each
- 1 large parsnip, peeled, washed, cut into cubes of 8
- 4 stalks of celery
- 1 Holland onion, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
- 170g (1 small tin) of tomato paste
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 1 tablespoon of paprika (optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
1.In a bowl, marinate the beef chunks with 1 tablespoon of wheat flour, 1/4 tablespoon of ground black pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Keep them refrigerated for 30 minutes.
2. In a deep-bottomed pot, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, best if you have olive oil, on a medium high heat.
3. Add in the beef bacon bits and fry them til crispy. This step takes about 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pot, amount of beef bacon used and the heat intensity. For the amount used, it took me 7 minutes to fry the bacon. Don’t worry about the bits stuck at the bottom of the pan. That will add extra flavour to your stew.
4. Once done, use a slotted ladle to scoop up the bacon bits. Leave the bacon oil in.
5. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil, lower the flame to small so you won’t overheat the pot. Wait for 2 minutes and start putting in the beef chunks. Increase flame to medium high and let the beef chunks cooked for 5-7 minutes till they become caramelized.
6. Remove beef from pot and set aside. Keep in mind to do it in batches to ensure the beef are all cooked consistently. By this time, they will be a coating of dark brown crusts at the bottom of your pot. Don’t worry about it! You’ll thank those burnt parts later.
7. Next, add in another 2 tablespoons of oil and heat them up for 2 minutes. Add in the chopped onions and minced garlic. Saute them for 3-5 minutes until they become brown, translucent and soft.
8. Add in the chopped vegetables. I like my stew to have all the traditional stew-appropriate vegetables like carrots, potatoes, celeries and parsnips. You can add peas if you want. Stir continuously for 5 minutes and make sure all the vegetables are coated with the sweet juices of the caramelized onions.
9. The next step is the one you have been waiting for. Uncap the bottle of Guinness Stout and pour the whole bottle into the pot. Increase the heat to quick boil the beer for 2 minutes before lowering down the heat to let it simmer for another 2 minutes.
10. Put in the browned beef, fried bacon bits, beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaves, sprigs of thyme, rosemary, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well and scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to remove the brown crusts for added flavour.
11. When it comes to seasoning, you can first put 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper first. When it’s halfway cooking, add a little more to taste. Cover the pot, lower your flame to the lowest setting and let simmer for 2 hours. Occasionally stir to ensure your stew is not burning at the bottom.
Make Your Own Version of Guinness Beef Stew!
The traditional Irish Guinness Beef Stew does not call for paprika but I like a little more zing to my stews because being a Malaysian, I need the extra heat. It somehow makes the flavours more wholesome to me. Also, if you don’t like too much of the quite overpowering bitter taste of Guinness, add another 1/2 cup of broth to balance the flavour out. Feel free to experiment and make your own version of Guinness Beef Stew. After all, to each their own, right?
If you love this Guinness Beef Stew recipe and you want more of feel-good, comforting recipes like it, send a shout out to me by following Butterkicap and keep yourself updated on the latest recipes and food articles out via their Instagram or Facebook pages. Till then, happy cooking.