4-5largecarrotspeeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces (about 3 cups)
2tablespoonschopped 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.
» To select the best cut of beef for stew, see instructions in post.
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.
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.
TIP:Make ahead, up to 2 days in advance. Allow to cool and refrigerate. Bring to simmer to warm through and serve.