23 February 2010

Drunken Irish Stew

NYC was lucky enough to be hit with a mini-blizzard the week before last, and we were lucky enough to get out of work early to "get a jump start on the commute". What that really means is "spend these two extra hours making stew," which, along with some red wine, is the only way to spend a snowy evening.

This recipe comes courtesy of Bake's sister, who lives in Florida, so we can't figure out when it would be cold enough for her to make a dish this hearty. But for those of us in locales where the temperature hits freezing, warm up with all the booze in this Drunken Irish Stew (or save it until St. Patrick's Day).

We just couldn't wait to start eating, which is why this bowl is half full. It's surprising we could pause long enough to take this picture.

Drunken Irish Stew
adapted from Davislife Magazine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
7 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup red wine
1 cup Guinness
6 cups beef stock (or broth)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1/2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried thyme
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (peeled or unpeeled, gentleman’s choice)
1 pound baby red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (again, gentleman’s choice)
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large yellow or white onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef stew meat and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic cloves and sauté another minute, until fragrant.

2. Add the beef stock, red wine, Guinness, tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. When boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

3. In another large pot, melt the butter over medium heat until slightly foaming. Add the potatoes, celery, onion and carrots, sautéing until golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside until the stew has simmered for one hour.

4. Add vegetables to beef stew and simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water until combined. Add slowly to the stew, stirring for 1 minute until thickened. Discard the bay leaves and remove any fat that may have accumulated on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8.

*This can be prepared in advance and kept refrigerated for up to three days

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