Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guinness Stew

I have been waiting to make this stew for weeks. Every time I opened my vegetable crisper, the celeriac was taunting me. Have you ever seen a celery root (or celeriac)? It's like a large, rooty earth-colored bulb. I had it for the first time last Christmas when my flexitarian sister suggested we combined it for celery-root/mashed potatoes. It's amazing how much it smells like celery (more than celery does, actually).

I had frozen some leftover lamb pieces a few weeks ago with the intention of making the stew. I liked the lamb, but I think the flavor of beef would be a bit more mellow and not overshadow the flavor of the other ingredients. The beef may not appear to be very tender if you start with "stew beef" but it will become tender after some decent cooking time.

I think that this stew is very versatile. A large number of ingredients could be added or removed, but two necessary ingredients are a heavy and dark beer (like Guinness or Sam Adams double boch) and mashed potatoes. I served our stew over mashed potatoes (made with buttermilk, mmmm...) and it was delectable. This is, for sure, a "carbo-licious" dinner, so if you're watching your starch intake, run for the hills. Because I had some great root vegetables on hand I added: sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips, celeriac, and carrots. I think you could probably also add regular potatoes, pearl onions, butternut squash, turnips, rutabagas, etc.

The verdict? I found it very satisfying, rich, and full-flavored. The kids were kinda split on their reviews. Our son really liked it, but he seems to have pretty mature tastes. If you're cooking for kids, maybe you could start with sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and yukon gold or white potatoes.

Guinness Stew
4 T butter
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 sweet potatoes, sliced coarsely
1 small onion, sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 celery root, peeled and chopped
Stew pieces of beef
1/2 cup flour
1 bottle Guinness or dark beer
2 T tomato paste
1 can beef broth
mashed potatoes

1. In large saute pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and brown for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove vegetables. In the same pan, add stew pieces (coated in flour) and brown briefly, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Deglaze pan with beer, tomato paste, and beef broth.
4. Place all ingredients (except mashed potatoes) into large stockpot and cook over low heat for at least 45 minutes to one hour.
5. In a large bowl, place mashed potatoes and cover with Guinness Stew.

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