Hello, Irish Stew? Meet French Stew.

by Sarah on October 5, 2009

Yesterday I was on a cooking rampage. Woke up, shopped, cooked, ate, slept. Yep, that was my day. And I did it for fun. I roasted a chicken and some vegetables, made a vat of homemade mac and cheese, baked a cake and made today’s recipe…..Irish Beef Stew–sort of. Or really, boeuf bourguignon with a touch o’ the Irish (Guinness and potatoes–what else?).

I forgot to take the requisite photo of the ingredients–I guess I just got too excited about all the cookin’. Imagine, if you will: Stew meat, tomato paste, garlic, onion, pearl onions, carrots, beef stock, a bottle of Guinness or other stout, a handful of shiitake mushrooms, vegetable oil, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and flour.

In a heavy Dutch oven, such as a Le Creuset, heat the oil over high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sear in batches until it’s all done. Set aside.

The bottom of the pan will be all brown, but hey! That’s ok–that’s where all the good stuff is. Toss in the onions and garlic and stir around.

The moisture in the onions will loosen the brown stuff and make the stew taste good.
Add a couple Tbsp of flour and stir around. Let cook for a few minutes.

Add the meat and any accumulated juices back to the pan.
Add half a can of tomato paste.

Pour in a carton of beef broth or stock.

Add in a bottle of Guinness or some other stout. SOMEONE who shall remain nameless drank my last bottle of Guinness Extra Stout I use for cooking so I used a bottle of Bison Brewing Chocolate Stout that has been lurking in the back of my fridge for a year.

Add in the fresh herbs and bay leaves. Don’t bother chopping the herbs or taking them off the stems, they’ll fall apart as they cook and you can just fish the stems out later with the bay leaves.

Quickly blanch the pearl onions and peel off the skins. In a saute pan, heat a Tbsp of bacon or duck fat (or butter) and saute the vegetables until they’ve browned, but not cooked through.

Add the vegetables and potatoes to the pot. Cook for about 1-1/2 hours covered.

Meanwhile, while that cooked:

Feeding 2 starving man-children is no easy feat.

Back to the STEW! Take off the lid and continue to cook for another hour or two, until the meat is fork tender and the broth has thickened.

This actually tastes even better the next day…which is why I cooked it yesterday but we ate it tonight!

A perfect beginning to fall.

sláinte!/bon appetit!


French-Irish Stew


  • 2 lbs. stew meat, cut up in about 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 oz. (about 1/2 small can) tomato paste
  • 1 32 oz carton beef broth or stock
  • 1 bottle Guinness or other stout
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 carrot, sliced on the bias, in about 1-inch pieces
  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into chunks--skin on
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 package (about 20) pearl onions


  • Heat oil in Dutch oven over very high heat. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add beef in batches and sear. Remove from pan and set aside. Continue until all the meat is seared.
  • Add onions and garlic, cook for a few minutes until fragrant, and brown bits from the bottom of the pan have loosened. Add flour and cook for another few minutes.
  • Add the meat and accumulated juices back to the pan, then add the tomato paste.
  • Add the beef stock and beer. Next add the herbs and bay leaves.
  • Quickly blanch the pearl onions in a saute pan filled with boiling water. Rinse with cold water then peel the skins off. In the same saute pan, heat either bacon or duck fat or butter then brown the pearl onions, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. Cook only until browned, do not cook all the way through. When vegetables are brown, add them along with the potatoes to the stew.
  • Cook on medium-low heat, covered, for about 1-1/2 hours. Remove lid and continue to cook for another 1-1/2 hours, or until meat is tender, vegetables are cooked and the broth has thickened. Remember to season to taste with salt and pepper along the way.
  • This stew, as with most soups and stews, tastes better the next day. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Reheat in same pot on low heat.
  • Serves 6.

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