Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

This hearty Irish beef and Guinness stew is a perfect dish for a cold day. There is no greater comfort food than a bowl of beef stew with mashed potato. Slowly cooked and simmered in a Guinness gravy that is incredibly rich and deep in flavor. The perfect dish for St. Patrick’s Day.

Beef and Guinness Stew served in a white bowl with creamy mashed potato.
Beef and Guinness Stew

Traditionally, back in the day an Irish stew was made with lamb or mutton. But in many parts of the world, including Ireland, it is now more commonly made with beef. The dish itself is a staple in Irish households. I remember fondly how my mum used to make it on colder days with a big bowl of mashed potato.

As any Irish person knows, the potato is of high importance in our popular dishes such as boxty and colcannon. Irish stew itself was more a dish made out of necessity rather than desire. Like all countries versions of stews, they generally came about during poorer times. But like all dishes, it has become more refined throughout the years, with the addition of fancier ingredients, such as pancetta, bay leaves and thyme.

Rich and flavorful gravy with Guinness and beef stock reducing in a pan.
Rich and Flavorful Gravy

What kind of beer goes in an Irish Beef and Guinness Stew?

As the name suggests, the gravy is made from a pint of Guinness which is an Irish stout that is made in Dublin. It has a strong bold flavor that enhances a beef stew. It goes brilliantly with beef and adds a depth of flavor that is rewarding to your palette. When the stew is finished cooking the end result is a rich, thick gravy that is bursting with flavor.

Vegetables for your stew consist of carrots, onions, celery and garlic.
Vegetable base for the stew

Important Ingredients for Beef Stew

  • Beef – use chuck, shoulder or stewing beef. The meat will be cooked for a long time so you need some fat content so it doesn’t dry out and tighten up.
  • Vegetables – brown onions, carrots, celery and garlic are the essential base for flavor. You can also add potatoes but I prefer to serve the stew with mashed potato at the end.
  • Flour – coating the beef in flour helps brown the meat, keep in the juices and thickens the gravy. It’s a triple help.
  • Bacon – any bacon can be added for extra flavor. I prefer pancetta but that’s just a personal preference.
  • Liquids – as in the name, use a can of Guinness and some beef stock. Once reduced they bring an awesome deep flavor to the stew. If you can’t find Guinness, then any stout will do.
  • Herbs – I prefer thyme and bay leaves. If you have a favorite then feel free to add it in. Herbs like rosemary would also go well.
Browned pancetta for a traditional Irish Beef and Guinness stew.
Browned Pancetta for Beef and Guinness Stew

Tips for a great Beef Stew

  • Season the meat generously with salt and pepper.
  • Brown all the meat in small batches. Meat that has been browned has way more flavor than raw meat. Don’t overcrowd the pan as it will stew instead of sear.
  • When cooking your vegetables, cook them long enough to release their natural sugars. This will counteract the slight bitterness from the Guinness itself.
  • The alcohol in Guinness will cook off by the end and you will be left with a deep flavorsome gravy.
  • Like all brilliant one pot wonders, you can cook everything in a heavy-based, oven-proof pot on the stove or in the oven. If you don’t have one, use a deep frying pan and transfer to an oven dish.
  • Cook for as long as necessary. All meats cook at different times so serve once the meat is tender. You should be nearly able to eat it with a spoon.
Beef chunks in a bowl with salt, pepper and flour.
Beef with flour, salt and pepper

What Pairs Best with a Beef and Guinness Stew?

If you are cooking for your family for St. Patrick’s day, why not go all out and serve a three course Irish meal. I would recommend the following dishes to complete your meal.

Starters; I would consider having homemade Salmon fishcakes with a small side salad.

Side Dish; serve a classic creamy mashed potato or a traditional colcannon. Also, serve some homemade soda bread to mop up the leftover gravy.

Dessert; a humble apple tart or cheese plate.

Drinks; this is an easy one as it’s in the name. Serve your homemade beef stew with a creamy pint of Guinness. If you are not much of a Guinness drinker, your favorite red wine will do as well.

If you enjoy handy one pot meals, try this quick and easy One Pot Chicken Cacciatore.

Browned beef chunks on a white plate.
Browned beef and pancetta

Storage Options

  • If you have leftovers, you can store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • If you made a large batch, you can freeze some in a sealed container for up to 3 months.
Finished beef stew with tender beef and rich and deep flavored gravy.
Beef and Guinness Stew
Beef and Guinness Stew served in a white bowl with creamy mashed potato

Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

Author: Fiona Halligan
This hearty Irish beef and Guinness stew is a perfect dish for a cold day. There is no greater comfort food than a bowl of beef stew with mashed potato. Slowly cooked and simmered in a Guinness gravy that is incredibly rich and deep in flavor. The perfect dish for St. Patrick's Day.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Servings 6 servings
Calories 541 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1.2 kg Stewing Beef (shoulder, chuck)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Plain Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 170 g Pancetta (or bacon slices of choice) diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 large Brown Onions chopped
  • 3 large Carrots peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 large Celery Stalks washed, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 500 ml Guinness
  • 500 ml Beef Stock
  • 4 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme

Instructions
 

  • Cut the beef into 2 inch chunks, pat dry and place in a bowl. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
  • Add the flour and make sure all the beef chunks are coated well in the mixture.
  • Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 160°C/140°C Fan/325°F.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy based, oven-proof pot over a medium-high heat.
  • Shake most of the flour off the beef. Add the beef in batches of four or five until browned all over. Be careful not to crowd the pot. Once browned, transfer to a warm plate. Continue until all the meat has been seared.
  • Turn the heat down to a medium. If the pot is looking dry, add some more oil.
  • Cook the pancetta until browned. Transfer to the plate.
  • Add the garlic and onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft, then stir through the carrots and celery and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the Guinness, beef stock and tomato puree into the pot and mix well. Add the bay leaves and thyme into the pot.
  • Add the beef (and all juices) and pancetta back into the pot.

Cooking on the Stove

  • Cover and cook on a medium/low heat for 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falls apart. Remove the lid for the last 40 minutes to reduce the gravy to your own preference. Skim off as much fat as you want.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite sides such as mashed potatoes or soda bread.

Cooking in the Oven

  • Cover and put into the oven and cook for 2½ hours. Every hour remove the pot and stir the beef. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes. The stew is done when the beef is tender and the gravy is reduced and thickened.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite sides such as mashed potatoes or soda bread.

Notes

  • All cuts of meat cook at different times so check regularly on your meat.
  • It’s important that the meat is browned because it gives a far superior taste to the stew. 
  • There’s a lot of salt in stock cubes so when you taste the stew at the end, it is up to you whether you add salt and pepper. If you are trying to reduce your salt intake, use low sodium stock cubes.
  • If you are trying to be healthier, serve a side dish of steamed vegetables and cauliflower rice. 

Nutrition

Calories: 541kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 52gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 884mgPotassium: 1153mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 6123IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Beef and Guinness Stew, St Patrick’s Day
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