Guinness Beef Stew

From Cook's Country | February/March 2013
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Why this recipe works:

Dark Irish beer seemed like the perfect match for hearty beef stew—if we could lose the bitterness and keep the deep, roasty flavor. We added dark brown sugar, which balanced some of the bitterness with sweetness and bolstered flavor with its molasses-y notes. Cooked beer can be especially… read more

Dark Irish beer seemed like the perfect match for hearty beef stew—if we could lose the bitterness and keep the deep, roasty flavor. We added dark brown sugar, which balanced some of the bitterness with sweetness and bolstered flavor with its molasses-y notes. Cooked beer can be especially bitter; introducing some of the beer before cooking created a restrained bitter background, and adding the rest just before serving gave us robust stout flavor. We managed to bypass the step of searing the meat by cooking the stew uncovered in the oven. This not only helped brown the exposed meat but also let the sauce evaporate, concentrating its flavor.

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Serves 6 to 8

Use Guinness Draught, not Guinness Extra Stout, which is too bitter.

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 1/2-to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled apart at seams, trimmed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups Guinness Draught
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

    2. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook until rust-colored and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in broth, ¾ cup Guinness, sugar, and thyme, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in beef and return to simmer. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, for 90 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

    3. Stir in potatoes and carrots and continue cooking until beef and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour, stirring halfway through cooking. Stir in remaining ½ cup Guinness and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Test Kitchen Discovery: Cook It Uncovered

Most stew recipes start by searing meat in batches on the stovetop. We avoid that messy task by cooking the stew uncovered in the oven; the open pot allows the meat on top to take on flavorful browning. In addition, the liquid reduces, concentrating in flavor and texture, while the meat cooks.

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