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Stout Irish stew ideal for St. Patrick’s Day

There are few things more universally comforting than a melt-in-your-mouth beef stew. France has boeuf à la bourguignon. Hungary has goulash. Ireland has Guinness beef stew. What sets Ireland’s stew apart is the addition of stout beer, namely Guinness Stout.

In this stew, the alcohol evaporates, leaving a rich and robust flavor that complements the tender beef, hearty potatoes and sweet carrots.

When choosing your beef for stew, don’t buy precut “stew beef.” You’re paying a premium for someone to cut your food for you and have no control over what you’re getting. Don’t waste tender cuts on a stew that’s going to simmer because it will cook to the point of drying out. Choose a tougher cut with plenty of connective tissue, collagen and fat such as chuck, short rib or point cut brisket.

GUINNESS BEEF STEW

Yield: 12 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 2 hours

What you’ll need

4 slices bacon, diced

2-3 pounds stew beef

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped

1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped

1 11.2-ounce bottle Guinness Extra Stout

1 14.5-ounce can or 1 1/2 cups beef broth

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 cups water

1 1/2 cup peas

Here’s how

Prepare the meats and vegetables. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven on medium heat, cook bacon, leaving the drippings in the pan. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the flour, garlic, salt and pepper and toss the beef cubes to coat. Working in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, brown the beef in the drippings on all sides. Add cooking oil if the pan gets dry. Set aside.

By now you’ll have lovely brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Don’t burn this. Lower the heat to low. Add the onions stirring frequently, adding oil if necessary, until just softened. Add the tomato paste, stirring into the onions to evenly coat. Add the Guinness and bring it to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits, deglazing the bottom of the pot. Add the beef broth and Worcestershire. Boil for 2 minutes.

Return the bacon and beef to the pot along with the remaining vegetables. Add water and stir to combine.

At this point you can throw everything into a slow cooker if you wish. Cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours.

To continue cooking on the stovetop, bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. In the final 10 minutes add the peas.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Divine.

When you host your St. Patrick’s party take a cue from classic Irish pub grub and serve mugs of stew, crusty soda bread and a beer on the side and watch the festivities begin.

Erin go Bragh.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com

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