This Guinness Irish Beef Stew recipe made with Guinness Draught Stout has the rich flavor you expect from braising in dark beer without a hint of bitterness.
Scroll down to find out why we choose a draught stout for better beef stew.
How to Make the Best Guinness Beef Stew
There are three components to great beef stew—tender braised beef, al dente vegetables, and savory juices. Adding a Guinness nitro stout to fortify the cooking liquid is key to this recipe, but it can’t overcome tough meat or mushy vegetables.
If you really want to make this dish memorable, every step matters.
Selecting the Right Beef for Stew
The best cuts for beef stew come from the shoulder or rump of the cow, the most worked muscles with more connective tissue requiring longer cooking time to break down.
- Look for chuck or rump roast, which come in various forms and names, so check this handy illustrated guide from Gourmet Sleuth. We think chuck works best in this recipe.
- Brown the meat to develop its deep, beefy flavor. In this recipe the meat is trimmed and cut into slightly bigger than 1-inch chunks, allowing for more browned surface area and efficient cooking time. A throw-it-all-in-a-pot approach does not compare in flavor or texture.
- Cut the meat into smaller, 1-inch pieces. Braise for up to 2 hours, not all day in an unattended slow cooker, unless you KNOW your slow cooker won’t boil on the low setting. » This article at Serious Eats makes it easy to see how meat changes when cooked too long, becoming dry and mealy, even though it’s soaked in liquid.
TIP: Trim some fat. If the chuck roast has a thick ribbon of fat—the type separating muscle, not marbling—thicker than 1/8-inch, it should be trimmed. This fat is not the type to melt within the meat (marbling) which adds tenderness or flavor.
Add the Vegetables at the Right Time
Timing the vegetables is important to ensure the carrots are fork-tender (still slightly firm), not mushy.
I know, the dump-it concept is easy and if you cannot tell the difference, or prefer extra soft carrots, go for it. Otherwise, hold those veggies until the last 40 minutes of cooking.
Choosing the Best Beer for Braising and Stews
Any beer (or wine) you’re using to cook with should be something you’d pour in a glass and enjoy as well. If it doesn’t suit your palate from the glass, it is not ideal to pour into a recipe.
If you’re not a fan of the bitter notes or subtle bite of dark beer, you might be reluctant to make a Guinness stew.
However, the Guinness Draught Nitro we recommend for this recipe has a smooth and creamy finish with sweet, roasted notes that hint to coffee and chocolate. (Yep, it’s perfect for a Guinness chocolate cake too!)
It’s the nitrogen-carbonated brewing process that makes the difference.
“When people talk of nitro [beer], it’s a reference to the type of gas used in the carbonation process. It means the difference between the creamier nitrogen beers (N2) and their lively, prickly CO2counterparts. A typical nitrogenized beer contains about 70 percent nitrogen and 30 percent carbon dioxide.” – according to CraftBeer.com
TIP: Of course, if you love dark beer, use any favorite in this Irish stew recipe and you’ll be right as rain. For us in the “less bitter is better” crowd, a nitro stout is the way to go.
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Irish Beef Stew Recipe Variations:
- Make it Paleo and skip the alcohol by adding beef or mushroom stock with a smidgen of instant espresso and unsweetened cocoa for acidic bitterness (yes, this matters). Start with a 1/4 teaspoon of each. Taste, add a little more at a time until it hits the “that’s deep beefy flavor” mark.
- Substitute lamb shoulder for the beef and treat it the same way based on the beef selection notes in this post.
- Substitute celeriac, parsnips, or cauliflower for the carrots or potatoes.
- Make it gluten-free with gluten-free BSG Glutenberg Stout
- Thicken the juices to be more like gravy with 2 teaspoons organic (Non-GMO) cornstarch, though Irish stew is supposed to be brothy.
- Slow Cooker Adjustments: 1. Reduce the beef broth by half. 2. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours, or on LOW for about 6 hours. Slow cookers vary so widely, so I only recommend this method if you are familiar with your model. The main thing is you don’t want the meat boiling for an extended period of time. Add the carrots the last hour of cooking time.
- Skip the Colcannon side dish and add 3 cups cubed regular, white potatoes or sweet potatoes to the stew. 1. Peel and cut potatoes in small bite-size pieces, about 1-inch cubed. 2. Increase beef stock or beer by 1/2 cup 3. Add to the stew with the carrots.
- Skip the kale and add only fresh chives for the green in the Sweet Potato Colcannon recipe.
TIP: Make ahead, up to 2 days in advance. Allow to cool and refrigerate. Bring to simmer to warm through and serve.
Guinness Irish Beef Stew
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds chuck roast cut into 1-inch pieces (well-marbled, NOT extra-lean)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces Guinness Draught Stout Nitro (nitro-brewed)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-5 large carrots peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or chopped kale if making the colcannon
- Heat oven to 325°F while browning beef.
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large oven-safe pot over medium heat. Lightly season beef pieces with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and allow the beef to brown, without stirring, then use tongs to turn the pieces over, 5-6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate when browned.
- When all the beef is browned, add 1 chopped onion and 2 ribs chopped celery to the same pot and cook for 6-8 minutes until the edges begin to brown, adding more oil as needed. Stir in 6 cloves minced garlic and cook 1 more minute until fragrant.
- Add 12 ounces Guinness, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 2 teaspoons thyme, and 2 bay leaves; stir to combine. Return the beef and any juices on the plate to the pot and stir. Add just enough beef broth to raise the liquid to barely cover the beef (1 1/2 – 2 cups). Bring mixture to a strong simmer.
- Bring mixture to a strong simmer. Cover and slide in the oven to cook for 1 hour.
- Add 4 carrots to the stew, cover and continue to cook another 40 minutes, or until beef is tender. (Now is the time to start the Sweet Potato Colcannon recipe or other sides.)
- To serve, discard the bay leaves and tilt pan to spoon off excess fat. Add more salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer stew to a serving bowl. Garnish with parsley, kale, or chives.
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- Skip the Colcannon side dish and add 3 cups cubed regular potatoes or sweet potatoes to the stew. 1. Peel and cut potatoes in small bite-size pieces, about 1-inch cubed. 2. Increase beef stock 1/2 cup 3. Add to the stew with the carrots.
- Skip the kale and add only fresh chives for the green in the Sweet Potato Colcannon.
- Skip the alcohol by adding beef or mushroom stock with a smidgen of instant coffee and unsweetened cocoa for acidic bitterness (yes, this matters). Start with a 1/4 teaspoon of each. Taste, add a little more at a time until it hits the “that’s deep beefy flavor” mark.
- Substitute lamb shoulder for the beef and treat it the same way based on the beef selection notes.
- Substitute celeraic, parsnips, or cauliflower for the carrots or potatoes.
- Make it gluten-free with gluten-free BSG Glutenberg Stout
- Thicken the juices to be more like gravy with 2 teaspoons organic (Non-GMO) cornstarch, though Irish stew is supposed to be broth-y.
- Slow Cooker Adjustments: 1. Reduce beef broth by half. 2. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours, or on LOW for about 6 hours. Slow cookers vary so widely, so I only recommend this method if you are familiar with your model. The main thing is you don’t want the meat boiling for an extended period of time. Add the carrots the last hour of cooking time.
Sweet Potato Colcannon with Kale and Chives
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes , peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 4 tablespoons butter — melted , plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups chopped kale , or chard
- 1/2 ounce fresh chives , chopped
- Combine the sweet potatoes, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons cream, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 3-quart saucepan over high heat until the butter and cream start to bubble. Reduce heat to med-low (on my stove, it’s a 2 of 10, just above the lowest setting), cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft and tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, wilt the kale in a skillet with a light coating of oil over medium heat about 2 minutes. Set aside until ready to stir into potatoes.
- Use a potato masher to mash the cooked sweet potatoes right in the pot, then stir in the 2 cups chopped kale and all but 1 tablespoon of the chopped chives. The heat from the potatoes should wilt the kale. If not, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Add salt and additional cream, if needed, and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with chives and pat of butter on top.