Guess what I just did?
Shoveled the driveway. And I’m gearing up for that same full body workout all weekend long, as there’s nine more inches of the white stuff on its way.
We have a snowblower presently sitting in the back of the garage with no gas in the tank. And despite the fact that we’re in the height of winter, it’s also halfway in the rear view mirror with springtime flowers lurking right around the corner. Now is the time of year to play double negative, positive spin games like, “Pfft. We don’t need no blasted snowblower. Let’s get through this winter the old fashioned way! Let’s shovel and shovel some more! It’s good for us! Screw Old Man Winter!”
So while my arms get svelte I dream up dinner plans with every scoop and fling. Scoop and fling. Scoop and fling.
I. LOVE. THIS. DISH!
This ain’t yo momma’s beef stew, so I’d never make it for my Daddy. I am not a huge fan of potatoes, so guess what? They’re absent in my recipe. But if you can’t imagine a beef stew without ’em, then throw them in. I like walking away from Guinness Beef Stew night feeling all warmed up, satisfied but not stuffed, and ready for a cup of tea and some TV. Our latest obsession is Billions on Showtime. I’m utterly fascinated with this one – Paul Giamatti as District Attorney Chuck Rhoades attempting to take down Donny Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and his hedge fund company for insider trading, fraud, conspiracy, you name it. But Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhoades steals the freaking show. I’ve never watched a more powerful female performance in a TV series – she interacts with both Axelrod (her boss) and Chuck (her husband) to achieve her personal and professional goals without compromising either relationship, her integrity, or her own agenda. In last night’s episode she articulately stood her ground with her high-powered boss, noting, “I’m not going to be the shuttlecock that you two smack back and forth.”
I died. It was perhaps the single best one-liner EVER by an accomplished woman. I can’t see how she will be able to sustain her position as the story progresses, so I’m geeked to see how it all plays out. If you’re looking for a great TV show, check out Billions for edge-of-your-seat, addictive drama at its best.
But first, gather these simple ingredients, many of which you probably have on hand, to make the best Beef Stew your people ever noshed. But be sure to buy the Guinness. It brings ridiculous depth and flavor to this classic.
Pay attention to your beef, and buy it from a great source. Even though stew meat is a cheap, tough cut of meat, the quality of the beef still matters. We bought ours along with a bunch of other meat from a local farmer, but if you seek out your stew meat from a butcher or higher end grocery store you’ll be good to go. Be sure to check out the size of your beef cubes. Mine were way too big so I cut them down in half to be proportionately sized next to the vegetables.
Finally, I use coconut flour to coat my beef for the searing phase. If you skip the searing of the beef, it’ll be gray and grody-looking in your final product. The extra step adds prep time, but it’s absolutely necessary. If you don’t have coconut flour, regular all purpose flour is fine. I just try to minimize the amount of gluten we all consume, because we feel waaay better for it. And since we’re not skipping the gluten in the Guinness, then coco flour it is.
Plus, browned beef + slow cooking = ridiculously tender meat, deeply flavored broth, and hearty stewy vegetables.
As we dove in last night, Mr. Musky commented: “This is appropriate, on the eve of Ron’s birthday. He would have loved this.” Mr. Musky’s dad would be 73 today, and he left this world way too soon. Guinness Beef Stew, along with a “Rum and Coke, short glass, no lime” conjure so many memories of a great man.
Cheers, Ron. We love you!
- 2 lbs beef stew meat
- ½ cup coconut or all purpose flour
- Salt and Pepper
- Bacon fat, ghee, safflower oil, or canola oil (something that tolerates "high heat")
- 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 T butter
- 4-5 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3-4 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch chunks
- ½ lb green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
- Bag frozen pearl onions
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 oz tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 T fresh thyme or 1.5 t dried thyme
- 2 T fresh rosemary
- 1 can Guinness beer
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Check the size of your stew meat. If the pieces are significantly larger than your carrot chunks, then cut them down in size.
- Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Shake to combine.
- Add the beef to the flour and shake to coat the meat.
- In a large stockpot melt about 2T of fat or oil over medium heat. Carefully add ⅓ of the meat and let sit undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Flip the meat on the other sides to brown.
- Adjust the flame under your pot as necessary to brown, but not burn the meat on all sides.
- Remove to a bowl, and repeat with the remaining meat, being sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring the beef broth into the pot and scraping up the browned bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour the seasoned broth into another container and set aside.
- Heat the butter over medium-low heat. Add the vegetables and stir to coat, adding salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Add the broth back into the pot, along with the beef and beer. Stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the pot and put it in the preheated oven on the middle rack. Check the beef after one hour for tenderness and seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary. If it's not fall-apart tender, cook it longer, checking on the tenderness every 15-20 minutes. The stew will need to cook between one and two hours, depending on the size of the meat.