Thursday, March 15, 2012

Family Recipe Friday - Ready for Saint Patrick's Day?

[This is was originally posted in February 2011 in preparation for Saint Patrick's Day.  I've made just slight changed (none to the recipe) and decided to share what is hopefully becoming a family tradition.  It was a great hit last Saint Patrick's Day!]

Last February with Saint Patrick's Day coming up (and me being 50% Irish), I had begun experimenting with various recipes so that our annual celebration doesn't resemble the dreadful corned-beef-and-cabbage-makes-me-want-to-vomit meal from Saint Patrick's Day of 2010!  I had wanted to make a good Irish stew in my slow cooker but frankly all of the recipes looked like they may lack a little flavor so I switched to recipes for Guinness stew and after reading several and not finding one that really suited me, I decided to use my new found research of these recipes and create one with bits from all and add a little me to it.  I tried it out before the big day and it was very good.  I served it over regular mashed potatoes instead of rice or noodles (that's why I didn't include any potatoes in the stew), but it will be served over Colcannon on the big day.

The Colcannon recipe was created in 2010 and it was the only really edible thing from that meal.  I took the recipe from my "Little Irish Cookbook" and screwed it up when I did my shopping.  Well, it wasn't really a screw up.  I bought bacon for it thinking that the bacon was supposed to be in there and when I opened the book to start cooking realized I was wrong.  Instead of saving the bacon for another occasion I used the philosophy that "everything's better with bacon" and it turned out to be so true! :)

This wasn't a family recipe in the sense that it was passed on to me, but I'm making it because of my love for my Irish heritage and wanting to start a tradition with my children that I can only hope they will share with their families as the grow up.

Guinness Stew
(the measurements are approximate but should be close.  Season to your taste!)

4-5 lbs beef stew meat 
1 c. flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tbsp beef broth (I used 4 tbsp water and added a scoop of beef paste since I don't keep stock in my house)
1 bottle Guinness (yes I used the whole thing)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp thyme, dried
1 tsp rosemary, dried
1 large onion (it was a monster.  Probably the size of 2 mediums...maybe 2 cups), chopped
1 (2 lb) bag of baby carrots
1 lb of mushrooms, quartered (or more if desired)
1 c. sour cream

Trim meat of any large pieces of fat (if desired) and place the stew meat in a large bowl.  Mix together the flour, salt and pepper.  Add to the beef and toss to coat.  Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add canola oil.  When hot add the beef (in batches, if necessary, adding more oil if needed) and brown.  Place browned meat in the slow cooker (don't cook the meat all the way through.  You just want to brown it.

Add the onion and carrots to the slow cooker.  In a bowl mix together the tomato paste, beef broth, garlic, thyme, rosemary and beer.  Pour over the meat and vegetables.  Set your slow cooker to low to cook (my slow cooker's lowest setting is 10 hours).

About 1 hour before cooking is done add the mushrooms to the stew (they came out perfectly). Tested it and adjusted seasonings to taste (I personally added a little additional garlic powder since the fresh didn't pack enough punch and some onion powder). Five minutes before serving I stirred in 1 cup sour cream.


8 med potatoes, peeled and chopped (The smaller the pieces the quicker they will cook)
1 bunch scallions, chopped (abt 8)
1/2 c. milk
1 small head of cabbage, shredded then chopped (discard stump)
1 lb bacon, cut into pieces

Place the potatoes into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Shred and chop the cabbage.  Add to a pot covered with water and bring to a boil.

While the potatoes and cabbage are cooking cut the uncooked bacon into pieces; fry until done.  Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Remove cabbage and potatoes when done (a fork will easily pierce a potato that is easily cooked).  Drain.  Return the potatoes to their pot to keep warm and for some of the water to evaporate from the potatoes.

While the potatoes are losing some of their moisture add the scallions to the milk and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Mash the potatoes with the milk and scallions, adding salt, pepper and butter to your taste (you know best your you like your mashed potatoes!).  Add the cabbage and bacon and serve.

NOTE:  If the potatoes are too wet simply place the mixture into a pot on the stove to evaporate some of the moisture.  You can simply add the milk a little at a time to avoid this, but ensure that all the scallions get in and aren't left behind in the milk if it's not all used.


  1. Oh wow! Those sounds YUMMMY TO MY TUMMY! Are you back in town, so I can come over and eat! Just kidding, but I think I am going to have to try one of these one I will be referring back to this blog for the recipes in the future! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Just got back in town and will have to get up in a few hours to head out and get the stuff to make this for dinner tonight! I also need to track down Irish Soda Bread since I most likely won't have time to make it, but I did find a recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake! A friend said she was making it so I had to look up a recipe and maybe try it for after dinner! Happy Saint Patrick's Day!