mytopleft

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A little home country food porn for you

Most of my ancestors are from Ireland. Naturally, then, I have an affinity for things Irish. Guiness, an Irish alcoholic beverage, actually is one of the few things Irish I am not that fond of. Too heavy for me. However, a couple friends of mine who have visited the main Guiness brewery in Ireland clued me in to something: they serve up a great beef stew there. As it turns out, the recipe is online, so, naturally, I had to make it.

I didn't take a picture of the ingredients, because shit got complicated. Nonetheless, you will need:

   4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
   2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
   1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
   freshly ground black pepper to taste
   2 onions, coarsely chopped
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   4 cloves garlic, minced
   1 (14.9 ounce) can dark beer (such as Guinness®)
   1/4 cup tomato paste
   4 sprigs fresh thyme
   3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
   2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
   1 teaspoon white sugar
   1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
   2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed to cover
   4 cups mashed potatoes (optional)

So, cut your beef up into 1-inch cubes. No need to be precise:


Toss that bacon into a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until bacon is browned and crisp. Turn off heat and transfer bacon into a large stew pot, reserving bacon fat in the skillet;


Next, season the beef chuck cubes generously with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Turn heat to high under skillet and sear beef pieces in the hot fat on both sides until browned, about 5 minutes:


Chop up those onions:


Chop up that garlic, too:


Place the beef in the stew pot with the bacon, leaving the fat in skillet. Turn the heat down to medium; cook and stir the onions in the retained fat in the skillet until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes; season with a large pinch of salt. Cook the garlic with the onions until soft, about 1 minute:


Next up, get yourself a good dark beer. Naturally, Guinness recommends that you use a Guinness. I didn't have one, so I used a Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock. It worked. Use what you like:


Pour the beer into the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up and dissolving any browned bits of food into the liquid: 


Add everything in the skillet -- the onion, garlic and beer mixture -- into the stew pot: 


Add the sugar, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and maybe some salt:


Toss in the tomato paste:


Throw in those carrots and celery you chopped up earlier. You did chop those earlier, right? Geez, I thought you read the ingredient list:


Add enough chicken broth to cover the whole shooting match:


Once everything is in there, bring the stew to a gentle simmer, stirring to combine; reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer the stew until the beef is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Stir stew occasionally and skim fat or foam if desired.

After about 2 hours, remove the pot cover and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring the stew to a low boil and cook until the stew has slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve this in a bowl by itself or over mashed potatoes. Excellent either way. Bon appetit.

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