A delicious Guinness Beef Stew with a complexity of flavors that will surely satisfy the palate. Chocolate and coffee bring out the flavor of the Guinness, creating a triage of flavors that takes this stew to the next level. Can be made on the stovetop or in the oven.
The first time I ordered a Guinness was solely because of its rich dark chocolate color. It looked like cola, but maybe I shouldn’t have guzzled it like one. I did enjoy it though. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising to want to try my hand at creating a delicious Guinness beef stew that would bring out notes of chocolate and coffee - with even a little more added to really accent those flavors.
CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE IN GUINNESS BEEF STEW?
That’s right. I add a touch of chocolate and coffee to bring out the flavor of the Guinness and then add some brown sugar to take away any bitterness. The result? Oh man, the result is a rich, deep, dark, hearty Guinness beef stew that will warm you from the inside out.
Honestly, I’ve tried making this by doubling the amount of Guinness but, surprisingly enough, it wasn’t received as well. The very first attempt I prepared this was the very best. Everyone begged me not to change a thing but me being me, I messed around with it to make sure my bases were covered. I do agree though, my first attempt was the best. I guess it’s true what they say about your first time!
Although the prep is pretty simple, I know there may be shortcuts out there in the food blog world that say you can eliminate the browning of the beef by just cooking it in the oven uncovered. But you know what? I disagree. In this case, I want the dark brown fond - the dark brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan from browning the meat. I mix that fond with the onions and garlic which, when they release their liquids from being sauteed, also release some of that fond which coats the onions beautifully.
The tomato paste is then added and cooked until it loses its bright red color. The flour and seasonings are stirred in next to form a dry paste that’s cooked for about a minute.
Now the stock and Guinness are added, creating the rich base for the stew. Throw in the carrots and potatoes, bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for 2+ hours. You can also put it in the oven if you like for the same amount of time. Either way, the stew is covered and will need to be stirred here and there just to make sure all the ingredients are playing nice with each other. Next, remove the cover and let the stew simmer for about an hour to reduce some of the liquid.
WANT POTATOES IN YOUR GUINNESS BEEF STEW?
I've made this Guinness beef stew with baby potatoes and without. It's up to you. If you prepare it without potatoes serve over some good mashed. If you prepare with potatoes then serve with a good hunk of bread.
As for the stock, I use chicken stock because I feel it brings out better flavor then the beef stock. Call me crazy, but it works. You’ll see.
Finally, add the parsley and stir it in. We must have some green in there, right?
CHILL BABY, CHILL
Here’s the thing, you need to let this cool a bit because if you eat it right away you’re not going to taste a thing. It’s too damn hot. Let it sit. Be patient for at least an hour and better if it’s two. Make it early on in the day or the day before. This also freezes well so you have a delicious meal when you want it.
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- 3 - 4 pounds chuck beef cut into 2” cubes
- Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons neutral or olive oil not extra virgin
- 1 large sweet onion diced
- 6 - 8 garlic cloves minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso or ½ cup strong coffee
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 can Guinness beer
- 4 carrots sliced ½” chunks or 1 pound baby carrots
- 2 pounds baby potatoes optional, see notes
- 1 handful fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cut the beef into 2" chunks. Pat dry then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. I place the cubes on a baking sheet and spread them out then season.
- Heat oil in a large (7 quart) heavy based pot over high heat. Add beef in batches and brown well all over. You’ll know when the chunks of meat are ready to flip because they’ll release easily from the pan. If they’re not ready and browned yet, they will stick. That brown stuff is fond and fond is flavor.
- Remove and transfer into a bowl. Repeat with remaining beef.
- Lower heat to medium. If the pot is looking dry, add oil.
- Cook garlic and onion for 3 minutes until softening. Stir in tomato paste and cook until it loses its bright red color. Stir in butter.
- Add flour and seasonings, and stir for 1 minute to cook off the flour.
- Add Guinness and chicken stock.
- Stir until combined.
- Return beef into the pot (including any juices) along with carrots, and potatoes, if using. Add a good pinch of salt. Bring it until it just starts to bubble. If cooking in the oven, see Notes below. Cover, lower heat so it is bubbling gently. Cook for 2 - 2 ½ hours (I cook on low heat), stirring occasionally. I’ve gone as long as 3 hours. Remove the lid then simmer for another 45 - 60 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
- Adjust for more salt and pepper to your taste.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
- Flavors are more pronounced the longer it sits. Best eaten warm and not hot. Serve with some good crusty bread. If you didn’t make this with potatoes, serve over mashed potatoes. It’s absolutely delicious.
To cook in the oven:
- After bringing it to a simmer, cover and cook in the oven at 300 for 2 - 2 ½ hours. Uncover, then continue to cook for another 45 to 60 minutes to reduce the liquid. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes to cool just a bit so you can actually taste it. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
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