Ok, this may sound very much like a recipe for Irish Beef Stew, but I can tell you, it isn't. Not quite. For many reasons that go (a) No Irish roots here and I did not look up a recipe for authentic Irish beef stew, (b) this recipe is a sort of amalgamation of flavors I like in stew, (c) if I am correct, Irish beef stew has potatoes in it and this one doesn't, (d) I made the recipe up as I went along, and I was quite pleased with the results.
Would I change anything next time around? Sure! Most importantly, I would add some red wine, maybe a dash of worcestershire sauce. I think that is pretty much it. J and I enjoyed the stew quite a bit, but it was a total flop with the boys. I think the whole Guinness thing put them off. That's all I can think of, since otherwise the stew had all the basic components they love. Well, I guess it also might have to do with the fact that they ate their cheese quesadillas (packed for school this morning) at 3:30pm (after school). Monkeys! Sometimes I don't know why I go through all the headache of packing a decent lunch for them. Oh well...a mommy's gotta do what a mommy's gotta do I guess.
I served the stew with smashed yukon gold potatoes. Call me crazy if you want, but I actually prefer smashed potatoes with a dash of butter over mashed potatoes. Unless you give me those ultra-silky butter and cream laden mashed potatoes you eat at restaurants. But at home, thanks but no thanks. Low-fat mashed potatoes are nasty and I'll save my butter and cream quota for dessert.
I even made buttered egg noodles for the kids, but I guess that Ronzoni whole grain egg noodles thing didn't cut it for the boys today. In their defense though, the noodles were pretty yucky! Nothing like the silky, soft, soothing buttered egg noodles we hoped they would be. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
Beef Stew with Guinness and Mustard
1.5 lbs beef stew meat
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
1 can Guinness beer
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp stoneground mustard
3 large carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large onion, cut into large chunks (baby cippolini would be better, I didn't have any)
1 lb white button mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1. Mix flour, pepper, salt, and thyme in a large bowl. Toss the beef pieces in the flour mixture. Shake of excess flour.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large dutch oven. You don't want to crowd the beef too much, so brown in two batches preferably. The beef I used (organic, grass-fed) was pretty lean, so I used 2 tbsp oil to brown the second batch too. If the beef you use is very greasy, you might want to drain some off the fat off between batches and omit the oil. Set the beef aside.
3. Add the guinness to the dutch oven and scrape up all the precious brown bits on the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Add the beef back to the pan.
4. Add in all the other ingredients (except the vegetables). Bring to a simmer and add in the carrots, onions, mushrooms, and bell pepper.
5. Cook, covered in oven at 350F for 1 1/2 hours or until beef is fork tender.
6. Adjust seasonings and serve.