Grandma’s Irish Stew for St. Patrick’s Day!

When we think about St. Patrick’s Day we usually think about Corned Beef and Cabbage and Green Beers! But, if you’re not necessarily a fan of cabbage (it is awfully smelly!) a traditional (my grandmother’s traditional) Irish Beef Stew can be a great way to enjoy the holiday with your friends and family. It’s delicious, hearty, and goes well with a Guinness and some Irish Soda Bread and creamy Irish Butter.  So put on your apron, break out the cutlery and cast iron pots, it’s time to get to cooking! (just a note, this recipe makes about 4 good size servings, so you can double or triple depending on the size of your family or the number of guests! You’ll just need bigger pots and pans.)

Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for your Irish Stew:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat (or you can use lamb) cut into chunky pieces
  • 2-3 tablespoons of garlic powder (or to taste) or the equivalent in fresh garlic
  • 6 cups beef stock (unsalted is fine)
  • 2 pints of Guinness beer (1 for the stew and 1 for the chef, seriously, this is hard work!)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme (and I think a little marjoram as well, a couple of teaspoons)
  • 2-3 bay leaves (I don’t know what these are for, but Grandma always put them in her stews and soups)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Irish butter
  • 4 pounds of small golden or red potatoes  (she preferred them unpeeled, but it’s up to you, personally, I prefer the peel on)
  • 1 large White or Yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons parsley
  • 2-3 shots of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Toss a little salt and pepper with the meat pieces and make sure you brown the pieces on all sides, this should take about 5-7 minutes.  Add beef stock, Guinness (just 1 pint), sugar, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir thoroughly. By now you’re probably thirsty, so it’s time to take a sip or two of your Guinness. Bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring as needed. Take  another sip of Guinness (repeat as necessary.)

In another large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add your potatoes, onions and carrots and saute them until tender and a little brown on the edges, this should take about 20-30 minutes,  add them to the beef stew when it’s ready (after about an hour, remember?) Now, simmer uncovered about 35-45 minutes or until everything is nice and tender. Finish up your pint, toss out the bay leaves, add a little more salt and pepper to taste (I always go a little heavy on the pepper, but your choice!),  sprinkle with parsley and serve with a pint of Guinness and some crusty bread and creamy Irish butter!

I never did figure out what the shots of Jameson’s were for, but they were always gone when Grandma was done cooking.   Must be a chef’s secret.  So with or without the Jameson’s,  give granny’s recipe a try and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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