Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter Strikes Again

Remember last week's blizzard? You might have known it as the Snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon. I'm talking about the one that blanketed most of the country with several inches (read:feet) of white fluff, to be accompanied by 60mph gusts, followed shortly thereafter by far-below-freezing temperatures. The storm in which many of us got to enjoy thundersnow for the first time, cozily contemplating the apocalypse? The storm that convinced the UChicago administration to stop classes for a day, an event that hasn't occurred in several decades? And then went and made them do it again? Yeah, that storm.

It's still snowing.

Granted, it's not the violent windy downfall that besieged us last week. After that experience, I barely noticed the delicate flakes currently drifting down from on high. But they're there. And a quick gander over to NOAA's forecast informs me that it is currently 13 degrees with a windchill of -3 degrees (Fahrenheit, mind you). Tomorrow is supposed to be colder.

Can I stay home?

No, probably not. But I can do the next best thing: make myself a big steaming pot of stew for when I get back. The stew I have in mind is one that has actually already been posted once on this blog. But I feel that Do, the Guinness-hating heathen, did not do it justice the first time around. Also, it's one of my most common go-to recipes throughout winter, so why not share it again?

The obvious selling point is that the stew has "Irish" in its title. As well as garner a little pride from Irishmen & women around (of which I am not one), this means that there's a certain amount (read:big heaping portions) of booze in the dish. In this case, the meat and vegetables stew for a few hours in a pint (or more...) of Guinness, which gives the softened chunks that subtle aroma of the bitter stout (the way a dancing elephant with a tutu and a neon sign is subtle). The preparation of the meat, as Do points out, is also a nice touch: before stewing, you cover the beef with a mixture of cornstarch and paprika, with a later addendum of salt, pepper, and (sure, why not?) basil. Some of this will get washed onto the veggies when you pour in the beer, but the rest sticks to the beef and offers a bracing seasoning for the cold weather.

The original recipe can be found at the Thyme for Cooking blog, which I've recopied here for convenience.

Irish Beef Stew
  • 1 lb beef suitable for stewing
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 pint Guinness
  • 2 tsp beef paste (or stock cube)
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 3 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs paprika
Cut beef into 1 inch cubes. Cut onion into quarters, then slice thinly. Mince or press garlic. Cut carrots in half the long way, then into 1 inch pieces.

Combine paprika and cornstarch in a plastic food bag. Add beef and toss to coat evenly.

In a large sauce pan, enough to hold everything easily, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add beef and brown on all sides. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer at least an hour. If it starts to dry out, add more Guinness. If you would like the sauce thicker stir in 1 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbs water.

When ready to eat, remove bay leaf and serve with boiled jacket potatoes.


Glee said...

Falko would recommend you eat it with this cake for dessert:

Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

My friend and I tried the recipe...this is the best beef stew EVER! So good!