Beef in Stout by the Fire in an Irish Castle

Beef in Stout … seriously does it get any more Irish than that?

Can’t you just picture yourself in the library of an old Irish castle

JohnstownCastle55843220Photo from advertising for Johnstown Castle, Ireland

(now a cozy hotel with every creature comfort imaginable, delightfully historic but with indoor plumbing, central heat and no ghosts or banshees or sieging Norman invaders), curled up in an overstuffed chair in front of a roaring fire, (yes, my post title was shamelessly misleading) soft tartan plaid cashmere throw draped over your lap.

A polite knock at the door, your dinner has arrived and just in time; that massage in the spa followed by several hours of reading by the fire have left you with quite an appetite. The handsome waiter, let’s call him Seamus, sets a large silver tray on the weathered walnut table by the window overlooking the lush green glens and rocky cliffs that lead down to the sea still glistening in the fading evening light.

CliffsMoher290x200_1

Yes, exactly.

Image from Discover Ireland.

Seamus ladles out steaming, heavenly scented bowls of rich stew topped with wedges of perfectly crusty bread. He flexes slightly as he pours two generous glasses of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, placing the yet to be finished bottle gently back on the table.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking … wouldn’t Beef in Stout, in Ireland, go great with an oh, I don’t know, Irish Stout? All I have to say to that is, I’m creating this travel fantasy so there will most certainly be French wine. Besides, a good French red goes with everything. Everything. And there are currently no invading Norman hordes, so we’re good.

Oh, and Belgian chocolate, that’s on the tray too. It also goes with everything. Truly.

And who is that second glass of fragrant red wine for?

Well, in my case, it is for my sweet, handsome husband who just came in from 36 straight holes of golf. Who did you think it was for?

Interestingly enough, I am picturing him in traditional Irish golf attire …

I think it goes without saying, this is not one of my original photos, but I'll put it out there - just for the record.

I think it goes without saying, this is not one of my original photos, but I will put the disclaimer out there anyway – just for the record.

Just. Like. That.

No, I’m not poking fun. He could totally pull off the look. And besides, you don’t make it to seventeen years of marriage if you can’t laugh at each other together.

Incidentally, I am also picturing him preferring to have an Irish Stout with his stew. And darn it, he is just too full for Belgian chocolates. But what to do with that second glass of wine? Good thing I’m on vacation.

Yes, that was a lot of set up for a Beef in Stout recipe. The laundry I have to do, dishes waiting in the sink and errands I need to run may have something to do with my need for Calgonesque travel fantasies.

Poof. Back to reality. At least there’s still the stew. And Calgon.

Beef in Stout with Herb Dumplings

from Irish Pub Cooking, Parragon Books, serves 6

Ingredients

Stew

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 carrots, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 lb braising beef cut into cubes, I used chuck
  • generous 1 3/4 cups stout
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper

Herb Dumplings

  • generous 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded suet – I know, use butter
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • about 4 Tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat the oil in an oven-proof cast iron casserole (like Le Creuset). Add the onions and carrots and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened.

BIS-2

Meanwhile, place the flour in a plastic bag and season well with salt and pepper.

BIS-1 BIS-3

Add the beef to the bag, close the top, and shake well to coat. Do this in batches.

Remove the vegetables from the casserole with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the beef to the casserole, in batches, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned all over.

BIS-4 BIS-5

Return all the meat and the onions and carrots to the casserole and sprinkle in any remaining seasoned flour. Pour in the stout.

BIS-6

Add the sugar, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook in the preheated oven for 1 3/4 hours.

To make the herb dumplings, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut in the butter and stir in the parsley and add enough of the water to make a soft dough. Shape into small balls between the palms of your hands. Add to the casserole and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

BIS-7

Remove and discard the bay leaves and serve, sprinkled with parsley.

BIS-8

I have yet to visit Ireland and I gave up wine for Lent (well the second half of Lent anyway) but even so, I got to enjoy this wonderful stew with my sweet, handsome husband and the three little people who make reality (laundry, dishes and errands included) far better than any fantasy escape to a distant land could ever be.

Now where’s that Calgon.

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16 thoughts on “Beef in Stout by the Fire in an Irish Castle

  1. foodfrommetwoyou

    lol..thanks for taking me on the daydreaming trip..i personally would love an outifut like those golfers…it’s just sexy! lol beef looks just delish, i love anything served with egg noodles…lovely post..calgon away 🙂 sarah

    Reply
    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Those outfits are great, aren’t they. My husband read the post when he got home and confirmed that he would indeed wear one. In fact, he would wear just about anything if it meant he could golf in Ireland. I will add the left overs with noodles pictures to the post. 🙂

      Reply
  2. gotasté

    Dani, this recipe is amazing. Look so delicious! I would want to cook it soon even though I will not be able to get good quality stout over here. It should work well. And I think the adding of brown sugar is very important too. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Thanks Danny. It is very simple but so hearty and tasty. I wonder if you could order stout online without paying too much for shipping? It really is the deep rich intensity of the stout combined balanced with the sweetness of the brown sugar that makes this dish. Good luck, let me know how it goes.

      Reply
  3. musingmar

    Love your sense of humour in this post! The golfers too, although their outfits are a bit scary. The stew looks amazing, and as another product of Belgium myself I highly approve of your choice of chocolate!

    Reply
    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Thank you so much for the compliment. Who knew Irish Stew could be funny? I sure didn’t when I sat down to the computer to write about it. Sometimes you just have to go with the inspiration that hits, have a little fun and hope for the best. 🙂 Belgian chocolate is my FAVORITE and my husband always brings some back for me when he travels to Europe. I am so interested to learn you are from Belgium! I would absolutely love to travel there someday! And not just for the chocolate.

      Reply
      1. musingmar

        My parents are from Belgium, but I was born in Canada. I’ve only been to Belgium once, on the family vacation of a lifetime when I was a teenager. It was an experience I’ll never forget! And yes, I ate a lot of Belgian chocolate there (and here)!

        Reply

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