Friday, January 8, 2010

Feeding my Irish side with Guinness and Beef!

I love stew. It's warm, it's comforting, and it reminds me of my dad. Dad is the stew making guy in my family. So when it got chilly this week, I decided it was time to make a big steaming pot of beef stew. I have always been one to throw alcohol into food. Wine gets thrown into marinara sauce and to sauté seafood, beer goes into taco meat and of course mac n cheese. So it was no surprise that when I came across a Guinness Beef Stew recipe I was very intrigued. I really like Guinness. I don't like beer by and large but I do like me some Guinness. I don't know why and it kind of snuck up on me one day when I was drinking the most amazing milkshake ever, a Guinness infused one no less.... Mmmmm a Shakin' Jesse from Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe in Oakland is dream worthy. For better or worse, I decided to take a stab at this Guinness Stew thing.

In true A Girl and Her Kitchen fashion, I found the recipe I liked and immediately went about adjusting it. I am that girl who finds a good base recipe, builds upon it with ideas from other recipes, and then adds things here and there as I cook and taste test. By and large, my laissez-faire method has served me well.

I started with a recipe from the Parsley Theif adapted from Cooks Country magazine. Then I addedd bacon (bc EVERYTHING is better with bacon), garlic, rosemary, cayene, red pepper flakes, frozen peas, tomato paste, mushrooms and pearl onions. I split the stock and did half beef and half chicken and then added a bit more beef stock for good measure. OH and for some reason along the way I threw in a dash of red wine vinegar. Felt like it needed a mini acid boost.
I decided to season my flour with salt, pepper and cayene pepper and toss the toweled off beef chunks in that before browning them. I used shallot instead of onions (though I did also add a bag of pearl onions).
And then I changed the cooking method. I know that sounds big, but I don't own a slow cooker.
Somehow it just didn't make it on the wedding registry list.
So I made do with my 5 1/2 quart round french oven from creuset. I use this pan for everything!! It also helps that I am working from home right now so the stew could simmer away on the stove for hours while I worked. If you have a slow cooker, go ahead and use it and let me know how it goes.

The stew turned out to be spectacular! It was rich and had serious depth of flavor. For those of you who shy away from Guinness or beer in general, do not fret!! The Guinness gave it such a deep wonderful almost earthy flavor while not actually tasting like Guinness at all! And the unsweetened coco powder plays perfectly off the Guiness. The potatoes fell apart a bit but that actually thickened the sauce and even added a creamy element.

I made enough to feed an army so I am sure we'll be eating this for the next few days. Good thing stew is one of those dishes that just gets better with time. :)


  1. Will have to pass this along to the boyfriend...he loves Guinness!

  2. Oh hey, Allison and I tried this yummy martini recipe in case you are interested.

    Gelato Martini-


    To Blender

    * 1 cup chocolate gelato (recommended Super-Easy Chocolate Ganache or Gelato)
    * 1/3 cup half-and-half
    * 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
    * 2 ounces vodka
    * 2 ounces Kahlua
    * 1 ounce Creme de Cacao (or Bailey's Irish Cream)

    Other ingredients needed

    * chocolate syrup
    * brown sugar (or Sugar in the Raw)
    * chocolate shavings, to garnish


    1. Add gelato, half and half, chocolate syrup, and liquor to a blender and blend to combine.
    2. Using 2 saucers, add a circle of some chocolate syrup to one, and a circle of brown sugar to the other. Dip the rims of martini (or daqueri) glasses into the kaluha then into a ring of sugar.
    3. Pour drink into glasses and top with a sprinkle of chocolate shavings and serve.

    <3 Allison and Kelly <3