There are as many recipes for Irish Beef Stew as there are people who make it. This is a distinctive version that uses Guinness beer and when cooked in a slow cooker comes out thick and rich and luxuriously comforting!
Beef stew is among one of Ireland’s most iconic pub foods. This beef stew has a distinct one of a kind flavor and that is thanks to only one source – Guinness beer. I am not a huge fan of drinking Guinness, however, the deep, robust, almost black looking beer is what puts this stew AND the gravy in a category all it’s own.
Ingredients in Guinness Beef Stew:
In addition to the beef and the Guinness beer, here are some other ingredients:
- Carrots – an essential ingredient
- Onion, Celery, Garlic – again, essentials
- Mushrooms – optional, but I love them
- Flour, Cornstarch and Tomato Paste – all used to thicken the stew
- Beer, Wine and Broth – all used to braise the beef
- Parsley, Thyme, Bay leaf – aromatics
Why is beer added to Beef Stew?
- As the beer cooks down and evaporates it is also tenderizing the beef. Chuck roast is the most common, as well as preferred, cut of meat, however it does take hours to break down and become tender. Beer contains alpha acids that help break down the meat fibers.
- The alcohol is evaporated as the stew simmers and you are left with a deep and robust flavor. If you use any other beer besides Guinness EXTRA STOUT you will still get a great stew, but it may not be as robust or as deep.
Red wine and beef broth are also added to this robust stew for added depth of flavor and complexity. Root vegetables, such as onions and carrots, act as a thickening agent as the stew cooks down.
How to get the most flavor out of your Irish Beef Stew:
- Sear the beef over high heat in a hot skillet. Flavor comes from a good sear. Take your time with this. Also, scraping up those caramelized brown bits from the bottom of the pan (otherwise known as deglazing) is going to give your stew a deep, rich flavor.
- Brown the beef in batches. Yes it will take a little more time, but if you crowd the pan the beef will not sear, instead it will steam, resulting in gray unattractive lumps of meat.
- This stew uses not one but two types of alcohol, red wine AND Guinness, each giving the stew a deeper dimension of flavor.
- Don’t throw the onions in raw! Use that hot skillet with all that flavor to your advantage and get those onions nice and brown.
- If you are adding potatoes to the stew, we prefer to add them about 3 hours in so they don’t completely fall apart.
Tips to to making Beef Stew a weeknight meal:
- Cut up the veggies the night before (onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms). Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. You can even cut up the potatoes to save some time, just keep them in a pot of water overnight so they don’t turn brown.
- Ask your butcher to cut up the beef for you in BIG CHUNKS. We want this stew to cook for a loooong time, so little cuts simply won’t do.
- Measure out the spices and grab the pantry ingredients – put them on the counter so when it comes time to make the stew in the morning you’re not searching for anything.
Once the beef is fall apart tender, you can serve it as is. However, I take it one step further. I like to thicken the gravy by scooping out about a cup of the hot liquid and adding cornstarch to it to make a slurry. Stir it back into the stew and let cook another 10-15 minutes or until the gravy has thickened and become glossy.
Side note: This beef stew recipe does not have any potatoes in it because our kids liked it better served over mashed potatoes. You can certainly add them. The instructions are listed below in the recipe card.Print
Among Ireland’s most iconic pub foods, this rich and robust Irish Beef and Guinness Stew will make your taste buds sing and have you begging for seconds!
- 2 Lbs. Beef Chuck, cubed (purchasing 3 lbs of beef chuck will result in approx. 2 lbs. when all trimmed, cut up and cubed)
- flour for coating
- 3–4 Carrots, washed, peeled and chopped
- 2–3 Stalks Celery, washed and diced (approx. 2 cups)
- 2 Onions, peeled and cut (approx. 2 cups)
- 8 oz. Mushrooms, sliced
- 3–4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ Cup Semi dry red wine
- 2 ½ Cups Beef Broth
- 1 bottle Guinness Extra Stout beer
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 oz. Tomato Paste
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- ¼ Cup Parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Allspice
- 1–2 Tablespoons Cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
Optional: 5 Red Potatoes, washed and cut up into cubes (approx. 4 cups)
- Wash, prep and cut up all the veggies. Place the carrots, mushrooms and celery in the crockpot.
- Trim off the fat from the meat and cut into large bite size pieces. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Set aside.
- Heat up a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until hot. Add approx. 1-2 Tablespoons of oil. Let the skillet get VERY HOT. We want to SEAR the meat and brown it quickly without cooking it through.
- Sprinkle some flour on to the beef (or use a Ziploc bag to coat) and place enough of the beef into the pan that it is not crowded. Flip after approx. 3-4 minutes or until the beef is nice and browned. Continue on all sides, putting it in the crockpot. Continue until all the beef has been browned.
- Next, add the onions to the pan (add a little oil if necessary) and season again with salt and pepper. Cook approx. 4-5 minutes – or until the onions get a nice charred color on the edges. Add the garlic. Cook another minute more. Add this to the crockpot.
- To deglaze the pan, add the wine and the Guinness scrape up any bits left of the bottom. Add to the crockpot.
- Lastly, combine the broth, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste in a measuring cup or bowl. Stir to combine and add to the crockpot.
- Add the spices (bay leaf, thyme, parsley and allspice) to the crockpot – give it all a good stir.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, stir the stew and turn the crockpot to LOW and ADD THE POTATOES IF DESIRED. Continue cooking another 3-4 hours.
- About 1 hour prior to serving, scoop out about ½ cup of the hot liquid and whisk in the cornstarch (or arrowroot). Add it back to the stew and gently stir. The more cornstarch you add, the thicker the stew will become. Also taste for seasonings and adjust at this point.
The addition of red potatoes is listed as optional because I have found that my family prefers beef stew served over mashed potatoes. If you prefer the potatoes IN the stew add them in Step 10.
Cal 355; Fat 9.8 gr; Chol 98.3 gr; Sodium 441 mg; Carbs 23.6; Fiber 4.0 gr; Sugar 3.3 gr; Protein 33.7 gr
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 6 hrs