It’s freezing cold outside and you decide to spend your weekend home (or better, on a ski cabin) — it’s the perfect time for a hearty warm stew.
There’s no greater comfort food than a hearty stew. Especially for a cold rainy winter day.
What could be better than quality meat, slowly simmered in Guinness until it literally melts in your mouth? Oh, the dumplings…
Preparation — 45 minutes
Cooking— 3 hours
- 2 onions
- 5–10 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
- 3 carrots
- 3 Celery sticks
- 2 Parsnips
- 4 small potatoes cut into wedges
- Olive oil
- Pancetta (or Bacon) cut into small cubes
- 1–1.5 lb quality diced stewing beef
- (optional) a couple of Short Ribs or an Oxtail to add flavor
- 500 ml Guinness or any other Stout of your choice
(or about 1.5 bottles of 11 fl oz like in the picture above)
- 400g Plum Tomatoes or Diced Tomatoes
- 1 branch of fresh Thyme
- 1 branch of fresh Rosemary
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 2 cups of flour
- 8 tablespoons of butter
- A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
We start by frying the Pancetta (or Bacon) with a bit of Olive Oil.
If you don’t know what Pancetta is — it’s like bacon, but a bit more subtle in taste. Like Bacon, it’s a cut from the pork’s belly. The difference is that it’s salt-cured rather than smoked, which gives it a more subtle flavor.
Wether you choose Pancetta or Bacon, we’ll start by frying it into nice bits of salty, crispy, golden colored delicious bits. The rendered fat left in a pan will add taste to the meats and vegetables that we’ll add next.
Fry the Pancetta for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove the bits and keep them on the side (we’ll add them back later).
Lightly coat the stew meat in flour and throw into the pot. Cook for a few minutes until the meat is “closed” — brown on all sides.
Add the Short Ribs\Oxtail and cook them for about 2 minutes on each side so they get a nice color.
Remove meat and put on the side.
- If you’re using a big chunk of Oxtail (like in the picture below) it may require more time. Just leave it there to continue cooking.
- If too much flour gets stuck to your pot’s bottom it can burn and add a bitter taste. Avoid this by reducing the heat so it won't burn and deglazing it using a spoon of red wine vinegar (remove burnt bits)
At this point I like to give the potatoes and parsnip a bit of a fry in the oil — it’ll make them crispy. Add some oil if the meat’s flour sucked it all and give them a quick cook for a couple of ~5 minutes, then remove.
Add the aromatics — onions, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaves. Fry for about 10 minutes.
Add back everything we’ve previously cooked — the Pancetta, Beef, Short Ribs\OxTail, Potatoes, and Parsnip.
Pour in the Beer and Tomatoes and add the Thyme and Rosemary.
Give it a good stir, then season with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Bring to a boil and then place in the oven for 3 hours.
After about 2.5 hours, it’s time to make the dumplings…
Put the flour in a mixing bowl and using a coarse grater, grate the cold butter into the flour.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Using your hands starts rubbing the butter into the flour until its texture begins to resemble breadcrumbs.
Add a splash of water to help the dough bind into a single piece.
Divide into little balls that we’ll add to the stew…
The dumplings will suck up quite a bit of moisture from the stew, so if the stew looks dry add a cup of hot water and give it a stir before adding the dumplings.
Add the dumplings to the top of the stew and cook for the remaining 30 minutes with the lid on.
Guinness Beef Stew — DONE!
Serve with a green salad on the side, maybe some pieces of green onion as decoration on top, and obviously… Guinness :)