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Saturday, December 03, 2011

It's all about Irish Stew today1

Hmmmmm, what to do today on this drizzly day. I know! I think I'll make my Irish stew! It's quite delicious and will be ready for the next two very chilly, rainy days here! And it's perfect for all my friends in the frigid Midwest/Northeast. If y'all are of a mind for an easy and tasty meal that will fill you up, keep you warm and make your tastebuds sing, well, here you go. Happy Saturday!

Nic's Unbelievably Tasty Irish Stew

¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces (I prefer buffalo stew meat)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
2 cups of Guinness beer (I tend to just put in one can)
1 ½ cup of good red wine (I typically go for a Cab or Cab-Merlot blend)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon herbes de provence (basically a bunch of dried herbs pre-mixed - found in the spice aisle)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½ -inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped (if someone has onion allergies onion powder can be used instead)
2 cups ½-inch pieces peeled carrots
1 ½ containers quartered fresh white mushrooms
2 cups sliced celery
Salt and Pepper (after simmering through add approx 1 ½ teaspoons of salt - I use sea salt b/c it's helathier for blood pressure issues than regular salt)

1. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, herbes de provence, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. While the meat and stock are simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes.

3. Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender (minimum 1 hour). Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat.

Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving. Transfer stew to serving bowl (or individual bread bowls) and serve.

Hint: To thicken a little add some plain instant potato flakes or you can bake and mash some fresh and add to the stew.

Hint: A sourdough bread bowl is the perfect container to serve this delicious stew in!