Food & Drink

Add Irish stout to your stew for a hearty St. Patrick's Day meal

Beef and Stout Stew. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post.
Beef and Stout Stew. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post.

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner. If you’re looking for something a bit different from corned beef and cabbage, consider this very Irish beef and stout stew.

Few things are as iconically Irish as stout, which makes an ideal marinade and sauce flavoring. When simmered and reduced with the beef broth and aromatic vegetables, the resulting sauce is intoxicating - and far greater than the sum of its humble parts.

You’ll have most of these ingredients on hand: onions, carrots, garlic, leeks. You might need to pick up beef broth and stout (we used Guinness here), and of course, beef. And then you’re off to the kitchen.

Oftentimes, stew beef comes out tough and chewy, no matter how long you simmer it. Here, boneless chuck cooks down to soft, tender and yielding. It’s how every stew meat ought to taste.

Spend a few minutes the night before prepping the meat to marinate overnight in the beer. Then, when you’re ready to cook, drain the meat, reserving the liquid. I love the frugality and waste-nothing aesthetic of this stew; the stout in which the beef spends the night adds depth of flavor to the stew later, so don’t pour it down the drain.

Searing the meat in batches to brown it will be the fussiest thing you’ll have to do here. Once all the ingredients come together, you simmer the stew uncovered for a few hours, until the sauce is thick and flavorful.

Feel free to improvise and add vegetables of your choosing: parsnips, potatoes, rutabaga - whatever you’re craving come this March 17 holiday.

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If you can, let the stew sleep in the fridge overnight - the flavors will deepen and develop, and the result will be even more delicious. And, while buttered egg noodles are not a traditional accompaniment, they complement the quiet yet rich flavors of tender beef and warming sauce as if to whisper, “We were born for this.”

BEEF AND STOUT STEW

Active: 45 minutes | Total: 3 hours 45 minutes, plus marinating time

8 servings

We were blown away by the depth of flavor from so few ingredients and such a straightforward recipe, and we loved that the stout used for marinating the beef gets added to the stew. While this stew is traditionally made with Guinness, you can use a stout of your choice. Serve with boiled potatoes or, though not traditional, buttered egg noodles.

Storage Notes: The stew can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

2 1/4 pounds beef chuck, cut into large cubes

3 cups (about 750 milliliters) stout, such as Guinness

1 bay leaf

Leaves of 3 sprigs fresh thyme

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 medium yellow onions, medium dice (about 3 cups)

2 leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

4 carrots, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated

3 cups beef broth

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the beef, stout, bay leaf and thyme. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

The following day, strain the meat and reserve the liquid and the aromatics.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the meat in 3 batches, generously season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring from time to time, until browned all over, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer each browned batch of meat to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and add the onions, leeks, carrots and garlic and season with a generous pinch of each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

Return the meat, along with any accumulated juices, to the pot and add the reserved stout and the aromatics. Add the broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the liquid is at a simmer, and cook until the meat is tender, about 3 hours. As the sauce reduces and thickens, taste it: If it’s quite bland, season with more salt and/or pepper. If it’s somewhat balanced, but not quite to your liking, let the sauce reduce more - the flavors/seasonings will concentrate with time, and you don’t want to overseason the stew.

Remove the stew from the heat, ladle into bowls, garnish with parsley and serve hot.

Nutrition | Calories: 320; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 4.5 g; Cholesterol: 90 mg; Sodium: 490 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 29 g.

Source: Adapted from “The Irish Cookbook” by JP McMahon (Phaidon, 2020)

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