Emerald Isle Stew:
The Recipe: A hearty, gravy-rich beef stew with carrots and potatoes, authentic for St. Patrick's Day but a really good basic stew recipe all year round too. I especially like this stew because it needn't cook all day, it's ready in a couple of hours, the chunks of beef already tender, the carrots and potatoes firm and sweet, not mushy from long cooking.
The Conversation: Authentic Irish fare versus lusty American traditions.
Lucky are the leprechauns comin’ home from green-capped mischief on St. Paddy’s Day to stew a-simmerin’ a-stove.
Emerald Isle Stew is genuine Irish fare – though a mordant sort might contend that for authenticity, the plates be filled with naught – just meat and onions, carrots and potatoes that cook slowly over a couple of hours, filling the kitchen with earthy-sweet, jig-inducing aromas.
And even if it weren’t authentically Irish, isn’t it somehow authentically American to lustily celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with inauthentic Irish food like corned beef and cabbage and other revelries when the Irish themselves mark the day with little fanfare?
Still, for foodies, it is great fun to cook up something special, especially something special that’s easy to make – and make ahead – and authentic. You’ll have leprechauns dancing before y’r very eyes.
COLCANNON is an Irish potato dish of infinite variation. For my low-carb version, cook a half pound of diced potatoes with a pound of chopped cabbage. If you like, add some chopped kale or broccoli rabe to the pot near the end, then mash with butter and cream. Delicious!
EMERALD ISLE STEW
Time to table: 2-1/4 hours
Makes 11 cups
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 pounds boneless beef top sirloin, fat trimmed, cut in one-inch cubes
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups stout beer such as Guinness (12 ounces)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cube concentrated beef bouillon
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed
- 1 tablespoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks
- 1 pound new potatoes, cut in quarters or large chunks
- 3 tablespoons flour
Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium high til shimmery. Add the meat, let it brown, stirring often. Stir in onion and garlic as they’re prepped, let cook til onions are soft. Add beer, water, bouillon, bay leaves, caraway, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, simmer 30 minutes. (Cook ahead to here if you like. Return to a simmer to continue.)
Add the carrots and potato, return to a boil, cover and let simmer 30 minutes.
Remove bay leaves. Sprinkle flour over hot mixture a bit at a time, stirring each bit in before adding more. Let cook 2 – 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Everyone loves Colcannon! It's such a simple combination, just potatoes and cabbage cooked and mashed together but decidedly good and "lower carb" too for those who watch their carbs. Recipe here, Colcannon.
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