Guinness Beef Stew
Beer and beef meld together to become a savory stew with tender meat. Guinness Beef Stew is chunky and hunky in all the right places. Plus, it contains a whole bottle of Irish beer!
Guinness: the beer and the book
Wait. What? Is there a connection? Actually, there is. Read on.
Guinness, the beer, predates Guinness, the book of world records, by two centuries. The brewery was started in Dublin, Ireland in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. His full-bodied porter stout, made from roasted barley, hops, and brewer’s yeast, had a unique taste that became popular far beyond Ireland’s shores.
He wasn’t just a brewer, this Arthur, he was an entrepreneur as well. He started exporting his dark beer to Great Britain and other parts of Europe. The beer was sold in parts of Africa starting in 1827 and accounts for a whopping 40 percent of Guinness volume internationally.
So, about the book of world records: it started off as an argument. There was a disagreement among some members of a hunting party as to what was the fastest game bird. One of the men involved in this argument, Hugh Beaver, was the managing director of Guinness brewery.
There was no googling the answer in 1955, so the question remained unanswered. Through a series of inquiries, connections, and light-bulb moments, Beaver oversaw the compilation of a book that included little-known facts and trivia that he thought would be of interest to the general public and settle any good-natured disputes. The Guinness Book of Superlatives and Now Records was born and given away for free as a marketing tool for the brewery.
Beaver was right; the public couldn’t get enough of this type of information. The book was a hit and went on to have an updated edition published yearly. The now-named Guinness Book of World Records has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.
We bought a copy every year in our home when I was growing up. At the time, the paperback copy was about three or four inches thick. The bottom right corner of the cover always curled up and the binding broke a few months after purchase, but my brother and I read it from cover to cover, eyes straining because of the minuscule font size.
We’ve read about the beer and the book. So now, the stew. It contains Guinness. The end.
Actually, why add beer? Doesn’t the alcohol mostly evaporate? So, the point is…?
Taste. Beer, especially a malty, dark stout like Guinness will add an “I don’t know what’s in this, but it’s delicious” taste to your beef stew. Plus, it's fun to tell people that you've included an entire bottle of beer in a dish. Sweet mercy!
- Don’t cut the beef cubes too small. Meaning, don’t cut them into bite-size pieces. You will wind up with smushy little beef turds floating in your stew. You want big 2-inch cubes that can withstand the 2-hour cook time needed to tenderize the meat.
- Take the time to brown the beef in batches. I have learned the hard way that if you dump all the beef in at the same time 1) it will not brown, 2) it will steam to an ugly dark grey color, and 3) it won’t taste as good.
- I wish I could say there is a substitute for Guinness, but I can’t. There just isn’t one. I’ve made this without the beer and just used more broth in its place, but it isn’t the same.
- 2.5 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 2” cubes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 oz bacon, diced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 bottle (14.9 oz) Guinness beer
- 4 Tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Dry the beef pieces by blotting them with a paper towel, then sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides.
- Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add as many of the beef cubes that will fit but don’t crowd the pan. You will most likely need to do this in two batches. Allow the beef to brown before turning it over to brown the other sides. Transfer the beef to a plate and repeat with the rest of the cubes.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the bacon to the pot along with the garlic and onion. Cook for five-ish minutes until the bacon is starting to brown. Add the carrots and celery and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle on the flour and stir to coat the veggie mixture with it.
- Tip in the beer and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan using a spatula. Add the tomato paste and broth, then stir to incorporate. Throw in the bay leaves and thyme.
- Now, place the browned beef cubes into the pot and dump in any juices that have accumulated. Press the beef down so that it is submerged and liquid just covers it.
- Lower the heat to medium-low or just at a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 2 hours. Remove the lid and allow to simmer for 30 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Keywords: Guinness beef stew