In re: Guinness Stew

With cold and dark weather the norm this time of year, suddenly certain dishes that don’t look and sound so good in July become the perfect comfort foods.  Of course soups and stews head up this list of comfort foods.  One such stew that I came to know when doing a January trip to Ireland a few years back is Guinness Stew, a lamb or beef stew that can have any number of variations, but is generally a simple affair of meat, carrots, onions, celery and of course Guinness, the ubiquitous Irish beer.  Making use of the crock pot I got a couple months ago I tossed in the ingredients, including some beef stew meat that I had browned up in pan after tossing them with some flour and salt, and deglazed the pan with Guinness and tossed this into the stew pot along with some water, some fresh herbs, some garlic and some tomato paste, (I am probably leaving something out as well, but the point is its flexible).  Anyway, the crock pot doesn’t boil it so to thicken it the way I like after cooking I made a dark roux on the stove top and thickened the stew liquid that way.  

Of course like any good Irishman would do I served it with some potatoes in the form of some mashed potatoes that I floated in the middle there and also baked up some soda bread.  (The Irish climate doesn’t grow hard wheat, the high protein flour that is right for bread baking, instead their soft flour is more like a cake flour and they need to use chemical leaveners such as baking soda to do bread.  The downside of this is the bread goes stale quickly, but the bread can be nice and doesn’t take much effort or time.  Just flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk (the chemical reaction with the last two gets the rise)).  

Anyway, it all turned out quite nice, especially on a cold night.

 

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Warm stew on a cold night

 

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Soda Bread

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