In my now regular pattern of acknowledging a holiday (in this case, St. Patrick’s Day) after everyone else does, the other night we had Murphy’s Stout Stew for dinner, and it was quite tasty. You may have heard of this dish as Guinness Stew, but as the stout we have in the fridge is Murphy’s, so you get the idea.
I searched several sources on the Internet for recipes to start from, and found many versions. If you are a connoisseur of stout, you can imagine that the flavors will likely be different depending on the kind you use. If you don’t use the brand that is called for in the recipe, you will want to be sure to taste it, so you can make a determination on how to balance the flavors. Murphy’s has none of the bitterness that is mentioned about Guinness by some. The flavor will also vary depending on the type of stew meat you use. I used 2 lbs of lamb and 1 lb of beef, though most recipes I saw were for beef only. And now for some action shots of cooking:
Browning the meat first in batches- notice the fond developing on the bottom of the pan.
Meat cooked, then removed.
Vegetables cooking, releasing their water to deglaze the pan, incorporating the fond with the vegetables.
The secret ingredient and flavor balance for the stout. It really works. This stew is absolutely delicious, and I’m sure I’ll make it again.
- Dutch oven
- chef’s knife
- cutting board
- paper towels
- small bowl
- liquid measuring cup
- wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula
- 3-4 Tbs. olive or vegetable oil
- 3 lbs stew meat, cut in 3/4 inch pieces (I used 2 lbs lamb, 1 lb beef)
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 8 oz. baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle or cayenne pepper
- handful of fresh thyme stalks
- 1 pint stout (I used Murphy’s, but I’m sure it’s fabulous with Guinness as well)
- 8 pitted prunes, chopped
- 2 cups beef stock or broth (mine was unsalted- check yours before you add more salt)
- 1 Tbs cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- Dry off your meat with paper towels. Dry meat will brown better.
- Heat 1 Tbs. oil in your Dutch oven over medium high heat until it is almost smoking. Add a portion of your meat to the pan, leaving plenty of room around the pieces so they will brown, rather than steam. Brown on all sides, and remove to a plate.
- Repeat step 2 with remaining meat, so that you have browned it all, and a dark fond has formed on the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot, and add 1/2 tsp. of salt. Cover the pot, and cook for about 3-5 minutes. The vegetables will soften and release their moisture, deglazing the bottom of the pot as they cook.
- Remove the lid of the Dutch oven, stir up the vegetables, and add the meat back into the pot, including any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Add in the stout, beef stock, bay leaves, thyme, and prunes.
- Cover the Dutch oven, and place it in the oven for 1-1.5 hours.
- After the stew has cooked for at least an hour, remove the lid, and test the meat for doneness. If the stew seems watery, let the stew cook for another 30 minutes uncovered.
- Remove the stew from the oven, and return to the stove top. Remove the thyme stems and bay leaves. If you prefer a thicker gravy, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water, and add the mixture to the stew over medium heat, allowing the sauce to thicken. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, or with noodles. This will serve 4-6 people, or you’ll have plenty of leftovers.