The Irish Inn, a cozy little B&B in southern-Illinois, was kind enough to share this traditional Irish stew recipe. I wanted to share how to make Irish stew for Saint Patrick's Day with my friends and fellow herb gardeners because it has a number of herbs and spices that surprised me. Once you taste the stew, it becomes clear just how important the addition of herbs and spices are to its richness.
It takes a long time to prepare this traditional Irish stew with Guinness, but you will get a few meals out of it. The stew reheats well and is even better the next day. Photo courtesy Salihan Crafts.
I confess, I substituted canned tomatoes for the fresh chopped tomatoes. This Irish stew recipe is simply a guideline for a very rich and tasty stew. There are several ingredient substitution suggestions in the recipe made by innkeeper Lynn McCreery.
McCreery is a world traveler. The use of cinnamon bark in this recipe is a technique she learned in India. Rubbing a little ground cinnamon on the meat is the next best thing. Perhaps the most easily recognized dark ale is Guinness, but any good dark ale will work in the recipe.
Feel free to substitute whichever ingredients are fresh and available. Photo courtesy of Salihan Crafts.
Traditional Irish Stew with Guinness
The key thing is to make this recipe your own. It reheats well. In fact, I think it tastes even better the next day.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 pounds stew beef or lamb cut into one inch cubes
- 1 head garlic, minced (mince all the cloves in the head)
- 2 to 3 large onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 cups beef stock (you can prepare from beef cubes with water)
- 1 cup dark ale
- 1 can tomato paste (you can substitute with a cup of tomato catsup)
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (you can substitute with soy sauce)
- 3 1/2 pounds red potatoes
- 3 cups peeled carrots, cut in medallions
- 1/2 stick butter (you can substitute with olive oil)
- One 3-inch cinnamon bark
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parsley and coriander leaves, for garnish
1. Heat olive oil in very large pot over medium heat. Sauté meat until brown, then add garlic and onion. Continue to move the meat in the pot with new ingredients over heat for another seven minutes, and then sprinkle with sugar.
2. Add beef stock, ale, tomato ingredients, herbs and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another two hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes.
3. In a deep skillet sauté the potatoes and carrots in butter. Add to the stew pot after it has simmered for two hours. Add cinnamon bark and simmer on lowest heat for another 40 minutes. Remove the bark and bay leaves. Garnish with parsley or coriander (or a combination of both).