Two years ago we spent the two weeks before Christmas in Ireland, and pretty much everyone we met there thought we were absolutely nuts for leaving beautiful California and going to Ireland for such a cold, rainy time of the year. But lucky for us, the weather was perfect, the Guinness was plentiful, and we ate ridiculous quantities of hearty meat-and-potatoes Irish fare. One of the best things we brought home from the trip was a cookbook by Darina Allen, who is, as far as I can tell, the queen of Irish Cooking.
For Christmas Eve dinner this year, I wanted to incorporate as much Guinness as possible into the meal, and also to use up that giant bag of potatoes I seem to be writing about in every other blog post. So I turned to Darina for boxty pancake and Guinness beef stew recipes, (substituting tempeh for the beef in my portion because I no longer eat meat). It was a great dinner, but really made me wish there was a pub down the street where we could go to catch a traditional music session. Maybe next year…
Note: I made this recipe in two slow cookers. I made about 2/3 of the recipe with 1.4 pounds of beef in a large slow cooker, and 1/3 of the recipe with 4 ounces of tempeh in a small slow cooker. This was more than enough to feed myself and three meat-eaters.
Also: Christmas may be over, but if you’re still feeling that giving spirit and you’ve had a food blog for at least a year, Kristen over at Dine and Dish is still looking for mentors for Adopt-a-Blogger. Read all about it and sign up HERE
(adapted from Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen)
2 pounds lean stewing beef (or two 8-ounce packages of tempeh)
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
2 large onions, chopped
3 tbsp canned tomato puree, mixed with 4 tbsp water
10 fluid ounces Guinness stout (look for the bottle with the yellow label, NOT the cans or bottles of Guinness draught)
5 large carrots, cut into chunks
a few tsp fresh chopped parsley
Cut the meat or tempeh into bite sized cubes. Toss the beef with the flour and a few pinches of salt and pepper (omit this step if using tempeh).
Heat the oil in a dutch oven or wide, heavy skillet. Brown the meat on all sides (or briefly saute the tempeh cubes).
Add the onions and tomato puree-water mixture (and salt and pepper, if using tempeh), cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a slow cooker.
Pour about half the Guinness into the dutch oven or skillet and bring to a boil while stirring.
Pour that and the remaining Guinness into the slow cooker and add the carrots.
Cook on low for about 6 hours.
Taste and adjust the seasonings, then sprinkle with a little fresh parsley to serve.