Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Irish Stew for Halloween Night

Halloween's origins are rooted in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain and the mythology of the Irish. Special bonfires were lit, and feasts with the autumn's last harvest were held for all to celebrate – alive or dead.

There's no better way to celebrate the end of the season that with a big bowl of Irish Stew. It will warm up as you pass out candy (or soul cakes) on Halloween night. (The following was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.)

Irish Stew

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into cubes, at room-temp
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into chunks
3 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 oz) reduced-sodium beef broth
1 bottle of Guiness Irish Stout beer
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, cut in half
1 can (14.5 oz) reduced-sodium beef broth
1 bottle of Guiness Irish Stout beer
1 box (10 oz) frozen baby peas, thawed


1. Preheat a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place meat in a large bowl, add flour and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Add canola oil to the pot and then add beef. Sear meat a couple minutes on each side until browned (it will not be cooked through). Don't crowd the pot and do this in batches if necessary. Remove meat from pot and set aside.

2. Add the remaining canola oil to the pot and the onions and carrots, and saute for a couple minutes until slightly tender. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for one minute.

3. Add beef broth and stout and stir, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the beef and the potatoes back in and a little water (or broth) to cover the vegetables. Cover and cook about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally until meat is fork tender. Stir in peas in the last 15 minutes of cooking. Season with salt and pepper and serve with Irish brown bread.


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