The following Wednesday night, we brought out our slow cooker for the first time this year. I had found a recipe for “Beef and Guinness Stew” in The Gourmet Slow Cooker that my friend Jenn had given us as a wedding present. It instantly made me think of the Irish stew I had eaten on my first night in Ireland, sitting inside a slightly deserted Irish pub while I also had my first ever Harp and Guinness. All of which was so pleasing and satisfying on a cold, rainy night.

This concoction was not exactly what I had envisioned, but it was still good nonetheless. I did some research after the fact, and this “Beef and Guinness Stew” is not a true Irish stew. Apparently, in an Irish stew you never brown the meat. And, in this recipe the meat is browned. I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes, but next time, maybe I’ll see what happens without the browning of meat.

Since I was leaving the house extremely early at around 7:15 that morning, I pre-chopped all the veggies and also floured the beef the night before and stored it all in the fridge.

Ingredients:

3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 1/2 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into cubes
2 tbsp  vegetable oil
2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1-2 sprigs thyme (I used dried thyme from our spice rack)
2 cups Guinness or other dark, hearty beer (I actually used one of Noah’s home-brewed ales)
1 tsp salt
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

1. Using a resealable plastic bag or bowl, coat beef pieces with flour.

2. Brown the meat with the oil until browned on all sides. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

3. Place beef, potatoes, carrots, onions and thyme in the slow cooker and pour the beer over the top. (If you prefer the veggies with more texture, let the stew cook for 1 hour before adding them.) Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat is very tender. Season with salt. Remove and discard the thyme.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley.

I think the beef was a little overdone, and it definitely needs the addition of lots of salt, but still a great dish. Oh, and I also added some mushrooms during the last hour of cooking. We served this with some multi-grain baguette from Whole Foods and shared our meal with wonderful neighbors Grace & Elby.

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