Tender beef cooked long and slow in a beer-boosted broth with lots of vegetables makes for one delicious helping of slow cooker Guinness beef stew.
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! I can’t seem to get through March without sneaking in a little taste of the cuisine of my ancestors. (Well, one ancestor, at least: I’m Irish-Scottish-Austrian-Hungarian in equal measures.)
America is just one big mixing bowl from all around the world, and we happily celebrate everyone’s holidays, even if we do put our own twist on the day (such as dyeing the Chicago River green and drinking green beer — decidedly American doings).
March is notoriously grumpy each year — alas, we had lots of snow this week (the ground was too warm for it to accumulate, though, thank goodness) — and hearty, saucy dishes like beef stew make the chill a little more tolerable, as the vegetable gardener in me impatiently waits for spring.
About Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew
- I’m not even going to try to pass this off as authentic Irish stew, because it’s not. It’s probably only mildly related at that. But that’s okay. I don’t think anyone will complain too loudly if I add some stouty Guinness to the mix, while I tighten the straps on my Irish dancing shoes. (Note: I don’t actually do any Irish dancing. Because (1) Holy Michael Flatley, Batman, I so can’t, and (2) no one wants to see that, even if I could. #scarredforlife)
- Authentic Irish stew uses lamb instead of beef. Lamb is not a favorite ingredient at Casa SoupAddict, so, beef it is.
- Although this is a slow cooker recipe, saving time is not the goal here. Beef stew is best prepared with a long simmer so that the beef fat renders into the sauce and its connective tissue breaks down so as to become, as they say, “fall apart tender.” You can totally prepare this recipe on the stove top. I like the slow cooker as a safer alternative to things bubbling away on the stove, unwatched, for a few hours.
- As prepared below, this beef stew leans more on the soup side than a thick stew. Slow cookers create things on the watery side anyway, which is a-okay here because I like to serve this stew in a bowl — food in bowls! — over mashed potatoes. If you want a thicker stew to serve over noodles, use a bit more flour and add more potatoes, diced a bit smaller, so they’ll break down and a thicken the sauce.
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound stewing beef or chuck, cut into bite-sized chunks (e.g., 1" strips)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or your preferred cooking oil) (optional)
- 2 to 3 cups beef broth
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup beer (Guinness or other stout or lager)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 large yellow or white onions, chopped coarsely (1" strips)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire or soy sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 to 3 large carrots, sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 1/2 pound new red potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks (about 1")
- 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Set slow cooker on high (for a 3-4 hour cook) or medium/low (for a 6-8 hour cook).
- Combine the flour, paprika, pepper, and salt in a large bowl and toss with the beef chunks, to coat.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium until the oil shimmers. Add half of the beef, and saute until browned. Transfer slow cooker. Add the remaining beef to the pan and brown. Transfer that batch to the slow cooker. Add 2 cups of the beef broth to the slow cooker (refrigerate the remainder).
- With the pan still on medium heat, deglaze with some of the beer or red wine (I find beer works better). Add the onions, and stir to coat in the saucy fond. Cook for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the tomato paste to the pan and mix well with the onions, cooking until the tomato paste just begins to stick to the pan (a few minutes). The onion mixture should be thick and saucy; if it's at all watery, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour over the onions and mix in.
- Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker, along with the beer, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Cover with the lid.
- Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, and cover with the lid.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms to the slow cooker halfway through (after 2 to 4 hours, depending on the setting your choose for your slow cooker). If the liquid level is low, add more beef broth. Re-cover.
- At the end of the alloted time, remove the bay leaves and check the beef for tenderness - it should be very tender - taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.
- Serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.