Happy St. Paddy’s to all! St. Patrick’s is definitely a holiday that I’ve celebrated differently know that I have a youngin’. Prior to adding to our family, the Mr. and I would likely head out to our favorite local pubs, drink some Smithwicks, stay out late and conquer the next day.
On our first anniversary, we celebrated in Ireland. We stayed in a different town almost every night and stayed out until all the pubs closed, every night.
Now, it’s St. Patrick’s Day night and I’m rocking my jammies. I’m turning more and more into Liz Lemon every day.
We did go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was celebrated at the more family-friendly time of Saturday afternoon. Little D had a blast cheering on the dancers and floats.
My St. Patrick’s days are now spent at home cooking my favorite Irish foods rather than staying out, pickling my liver. My liver is grateful. I was not kind to it in my early twenties.
I love making a big, hearty pot of stew with fresh baked soda bread. I know corned beef seems to be all the rage as far as St. Paddy’s meals are concerned, but good ol’ stew and bread seems more quintessentially Irish to me. I make my stew like many make their chili– just throw a bunch of stuff in not really paying attention to pesky things like quantities. But, lucky for you, I paid closer attention this time and it was a particularly tasty batch. Plus the soda bread complimented it perfectly. Throw on your itchiest wool sweater, grab a Guinness and let’s get to work.
Mama’s Guinness Irish Stew
What you’ll need:
- 4 lb. cubed beef or lamb
- olive oil (3 T)
- butter (2 T)
- A.P. flour (1/4 c.)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- cayenne pepper (just a pinch)
- cumin (1 t.)
- beef stock or broth (3 c.)
- yellow onions, diced (2)
- garlic, minced (4 cloves)
- fresh, chopped, peeled carrots (2 C)
- red potatoes, quartered (8)
- fresh thyme (2 sprigs)
- fresh parsley (2 T)
- rosemary (1 t.)
- Worcestershire sauce
- bottle of Guinness or your favorite Irish stout
- Melt butter with olive oil in a dutch oven on medium heat*
- Dredge beef or lamb in the flour until evenly coated, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in dutch oven
- Cook and stir beef until evenly browned on all sides, about 5-10 minutes
- Add garlic and onions until garlic is fragrant, onions are slightly browned, about another 5-10 minutes
- Add beef broth
- Take one sip of Guinness, pour rest in the pot
- Raise temperature to medium-high and allow mixture to come to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce temperature to medium
- Add carrots, potatoes, spices.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for about two hours total, stirring about every 20 minutes.
- After about an hour, remove beef and cut into smaller pieces. (If you bought pre-cubed beef, the pieces are probably too big, right?) This is a good opportunity to see how deliciously tender the beef is, take in the delightful aroma and get super hungry.
- Douse the beef with Worcestershire sauce and throw back in the pot to simmer for another hour.
*If you don’t have a dutch oven, just brown the beef in a skillet and transfer to a heavy pot. Then brown the onions with the garlic in the skillet you used to brown the beef and throw them in the pot. Complete all remaining steps in the pot.
After about two hours of solid simmering, the stew is ready. It’s delicious and hearty enough on its own, but this soda bread just pairs perfectly with it. It’s super moist, dense and just slightly sweet. Many add raisins to their soda bread, but I don’t. Who started doing that anyway? I never had soda bread with raisins in Ireland, none of my Irish-American family made it that way. But, hey, if you want to add some raisins, you go right ahead. Just be aware that this is a pretty sweet recipe as is, so it will be extra sweet with those raisins.
Mama’s Soda Bread
What you’ll need:
- A.P. flour (3 C.)
- baking powder (1 T.)
- white sugar (1/3 C.)
- salt (1 t.)
- baking soda (1 t.)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- buttermilk (2 C.)
- butter, melted (1/4 C.)
- zest of one orange (about 1 t.)
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Grease a 9 in. round pan
- Combine all dry ingredients.
- Blend buttermilk and egg and add the mixture to the dry ingredients
- Mix until thoroughly moistened and stir in melted butter and orange zest
- Allow mixture to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes (Full disclosure, I skipped this because I was in a hurry. But it does help keep the bread a bit more fluffy)
- Pour into pan
- Bake 45 minutes- an hour, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
- Cool on wire rack
I like to crumble a bit of soda bread right in the stew. This bread is just sweet and rich enough that it really compliments the sweetness of the carrots and the rich flavor of the beef. The Mr. likes the bread on the side with a pat of Kerrygold butter.
Either way, it’s seriously delicious. Perfect for a chilly, Spring day. The bread is also amazing just to have on hand for breakfast or a dinner side. It’s even better the day after baking. Hope you love it!