Friday, March 18, 2011

Beef and Irish Stout Casserole with Herby Dumplings

Beef and Irish Stout Casserole with Herby Dumplings (recipe courtesy Ireland of the Welcomes magazine)

2 tbs. sunflower oil
1/2 lb. shallots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 in. pieces
1 tbs sugar
1/4 cup AP flour
1.5 lbs. good stew meat
2-3 tbs. Irish butter
2 cups Guinness
3/4 cup Beef Stock
Bay Leaves
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 lb. mushrooms (quartered)
Salt and Pepper
Brown Sugar (my addition)

1. Heat 1/2 the oil in a large, flameproof casserole. Add the shallots and fry until nicely browned. Remove to a plate. Add the carrots, onions and sugar and cook until browned. Add to the shallots on the plate.

2. Put the flour into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add the beef and toss until every piece is thoroughly coated. Put the rest of the oil in the casserole and cook the beef in batches until they are all nicely browned on each side. Remove all the beef to the plate with the veggies.

3. Add 1-2 tbs. butter to the casserole and the remaining flour (left over from the beef) and stir until blended. Gradually add the Guinness , rubbing the bottom of the pan to release all the yummy brown bits. Stir in the stock, followed by the beef and veggies, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and any additional salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, part-cover and leave to simmer very slowly on the stove for 1.5 hours. Add a couple tbs. of brown sugar if the Guinness bitter taste is too strong for you (it was for me).

4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a large pan and fry up the mushrooms. Don't overcrowd the mushrooms. You don't want steamed want caramelized mushrooms. When the 1.5 hours is up on the casserole, add the mushrooms, part-cover and simmer for another hour. (See below if you want to add the herby dumplings.)

Herby Dumplings

1 cup self-raising flour
1 large pinch of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 tbs butter
1/2 cup cold water
Salt and pepper

1. Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl. Stir in the butter and thyme.

2. Stir in enough cold water to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.

3. Using a spoon, divide the dough into six pieces and drop on top of the simmering stew 25 minutes before the end of cooking.

4. Recover and leave to cook until fluffed up and cooked through.

This stew was AWESOME! Seriously, Andy asked me to make this for his birthday this year. My man is a serious foodie and has a pretty discerning palate...he has to REALLY like something to ask for it on a special occasion. This stew is hearty, a gorgeous dark brown and was WONDERFUL with a thin slice of Irish Brown Bread.

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