What was my first tattoo? Well, it was a claddagh ring right on my lower back. It was the obvious thing to do on my 18th birthday. At least to me. So what’s a girl who is not Irish at all doing getting an Irish themed tattoo? I just have always loved the claddagh ring and it’s meaning.
“With these hands I give you my heart and I crown it with my love.”
And that right there is my little Irish-related story.
Other than my tattoo (which I wish I had gotten bigger… seriously, wish I wasn’t so nervous and had listened to the tattoo artist) I have no association to anything Irish. I love St Patrick’s Day in that it’s so much fun to wear Kelly Green, eat green things, and drink green things, but none of those things are related to St. Patrick’s Day. Sham. But those Shamrock Shakes are my downfall. I get one for breakfast every St. Patrick’s Day.
Since none of the things that I associated with St Patrick’s Day are really Irish I decided tha to make a make something that was this year. I went back to my copy of Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries: Delicious Recipes Throughout the Year by Clodagh McKenna, that I had recieved from Kerrygold, for the recipe for Guinness and Beef Stew (pg 71).
This was really good and best of all was really simple to make. There was little active cooking time and then you just forget about it in the oven for 2 hours. Our house filled with the lovely smells of the tender beef, meaty wild mushrooms, sweet shallots, and the rich beer. I was glad that this was all for us to enjoy but I would have loved to have had friends oven so that when they walked in they would be welcomed into the house with all those smells. And then they would get to enjoy the fantastic meal, maybe with some beers or red wine and some roasted potatoes or Cheddar Thyme Soup Scones.
There are recipes that I enjoy and then there are recipes that I really love. This dish will make an appearance back on our table. It was so good! There are things that I will do differently next time to adjust to our tastes, but that is what cooking is all about. The process and taking the time to find something you love. Next time, I will use a lot less bacon since the recipe called for 14 slices of bacon, which equaled a pound, so next time I think we will use about 1/4 pound instead. I would increase the amount of whole shallots used because I thought they were fantastic. I had a very difficult time finding a prepared bouquet garni, like went to 3 stores including Whole Foods, so I used bay leaves and thyme but I think I would add sage and parsley as well and use bouquet garni bags.
Give this a try for St. Patrick’s day or for any time you wish to have a great dinner. And be sure not to forget the Cheddar Thyme Soup Scones!
Guinness and Beef Stew
Makes 8 servings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 pound of bacon, finely chopped
- 12 oz of shallots, left whole
- 2 1/4 pounds stew beef, cubed into 1″ x 1″ to 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ pieces
- 14 ounces of mixed wild mushrooms, such as chanterelle, shiitake, oyster, and criminis
- 1 quart of Guinness
- 1 bouquet garni
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the bacon to the butter and begin to gently brown. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until golden brown. Leaving behind some rendered fat, transfer the bacon and shallots to a 3 quart or larger oven safe baking dish.
- Add the beef to the hot skillet to brown all of the sides. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the beef while cooking. Transfer the browned beef to the baking dish.
- Cook the wild mushrooms to the skillet until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the baking dish.
- Return the skillet to the stove top, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom with a whisk while slowly pouring in a cup of the Guinness. Once the bottom of the pan is clean, pour in the rest of the beer and simmer for a few minutes. Pour the Guinness into the baking dish over the meat and vegetables. Add the bouquet garni.
- Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, cover the dish. and bake for 2 hours.
- Remove the bouquet garni, check the seasoning, and serve hot.
**I received this cookbook and coupons for Kerrygold products, which I used to purchase the butter used in this recipe.**