Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

Holidays like St. Patrick’s Day are so great because they are low low low stress. No gifts to shop for or extravagant meals to cook. Just a nice excuse to have a little fun! In the spirit of the season, we invited my grandparents over for dinner last weekend. I cooked a simple Irish meal of stew and homemade soda bread.

My grandma has always been proud of her Irish roots. When I was 17 she took my sister Meghan and me on a trip to Ireland to visit the family homestead and ancestor gravesites. It will forever remain one of the most special journeys I ever embarked upon. My grandparents continue to do an exceptional job of sharing their knowledge of family history. “Where we come from” is such a powerful notion: the life of freedom and relative abundance we enjoy here in America is due in large part to the sacrifices our ancestors made many years ago. I’m grateful for so many reasons.

Last weekend my grandparents brought beer from both family homelands: Ireland and Poland. Chris was more than happy to pour himself a Zywiec…

…while my grandma introduced Vivian and Mack to their first sips of Guinness stout. I think they will forever remember this not-so-tasty experience with their beloved Irish great-grandmother (who they very affectionately refer to as Mana):

Before Mana and Papa arrived, Evie led the three little girls in all the most important preparations: finding special dresses, make-up application and setting the table. Evie also made special certificates for Mana and Papa since they are the world’s greatest great grandparents.

Not to be outdone by her old sister, Vivian drew a picture of her with Mana and Papa. She was so proud!

By the time it was time to eat, the previously tidy house had been dismantled and the noise was at the usual all-time high. But, since my grandparents had seven children of their own they know these are just the realities of big family life. I so appreciate their patience and kindness. They truly are the greatest great grandparents!

This beef and Guinness stew really is an excellent and relatively easy dish to prepare. Once everything is in the pot, it just has to sit and simmer for a couple hours. The house smells so warm and cozy, too. I’m adding it to the meal rotation year ’round – no need to reserve this for just St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish Beef and Guinness Stew (inspired by

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-3” chunks

1 teaspoon salt

Black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 yellow onions,

4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into ½” pieces

4 tablespoons flour

14.9oz can Guinness Beer

6 tablespoons tomato paste

5 cups beef stock

1 bag baby carrots

3 celery stalks, diced

3 bay leaves

1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and brown well all over (you may have to do this step in 2-3 batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan). Transfer browned meat onto a plate and set aside.

Add a bit of oil to the pot and reduce the heat the medium. Add garlic, onion and bacon and cook until onion is softened and bacon starts to brown. Add flour and stir very well. Pour in the Guinness and stir well so the flour dissolves. Add remaining ingredients and the beef (and any juices on the plate) to the pot.

Cover. Bring to simmer then lower the heat. Cook for 2-3 hours – until the beef is tender and the sauce is thickened slightly. Serve over mashed potatoes and with Irish soda bread.

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