If you’re looking to serve something other than the usual corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, this Irish Stout Beef Stew is a delicious option. Morsels of tender beef, with chunks of carrots and potatoes in a rich gravy with a slightly malty flavor – so good! And even if you’re not a beer lover, not to worry. The beer flavor mellows as it slowly stews, giving this dish a complex, slightly sweet flavor without really tasting like beer. And although lamb is more traditional in an Irish-style stew, the beef and beer combination in this stew is truly delicious and is actually what our family prefers. And please don’t wait for St. Paddy’s Day to make this stew – it’s good for anytime you want hearty comfort food! (And if you like beef stew, also check out my recipe for Autumn Harvest Beef Stew.)
What Ingredients are in this Irish Stout Beef Stew?
The ingredients for this recipe are pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips:
Beer – I make my stew with a locally-brewed Irish Stout-style craft beer, but you could use Guinness or another dark stout. And you don’t need to use a stout. If you prefer a lighter beer, just use something that tastes good to you. And if you really don’t like beer or if you abstain from alcohol, you can just leave the beer out entirely and add extra beef stock.
Beef – Use stew meat or buy a beef roast (like a chuck roast) and cut it into cubes yourself.
Potatoes – Any potato will do here. I’ve successfully used red potatoes, yellow potatoes, and russet potatoes in this stew. If you prefer a potato that doesn’t fall apart too much, though, stick with red potatoes or yellow potatoes like Yukon Gold.
Beef Stock – Use homemade or whatever store-bought beef stock you prefer. If I don’t have any homemade beef stock on hand, I like to use a beef base and reconstitute it with water to make my stock.
Rosemary and Thyme – I tend to use dried herbs here because I always have them on hand. If using fresh herbs, substitute 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs for 1 teaspoon of dried.
Tips for making Beef Stew with Stout Beer:
Give it time. You can’t rush this kind of stew. There is truly something a bit magical about doing it the old-fashioned way and taking a tough piece of meat and stewing it slowly, over a low temperature for several hours. The beef becomes meltingly tender, the gravy reduces to a thick, rich consistency, and flavors intensify. So as tempting as it may be to speed up the cooking time with a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, I don’t recommend it for this particular recipe. I also don’t recommend using a slow cooker for this recipe either, because the liquid won’t reduce down to that silky, rich gravy that we’re looking for. So skip the Instant Pot and slow cooker for this one, and get out your cast iron Dutch oven (or other heavy-duty, oven-safe pot).
Serving the stew. I like to serve it simply with some crusty bread. You can also serve it with egg noodles or with a crisp green salad. And occasionally, I leave out the potatoes in the stew and then serve it over mashed potatoes, like Irish Champ.
And please don’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day to make this beef stew – it’s good any time you are craving a hearty beef stew.
I hope you enjoy!
- 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 ½ -inch cubes
- 4 tablespoons neutral flavored oil like avocado or canola, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle stout beer
- 2 cups beef stock (plus extra, if needed)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoons brown sugar
- 4 carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsley chopped into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and Pepper
- Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dry the beef with a paper towel, and season generously with salt and ground black pepper.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown beef in hot oil, then use a slotted spoon to remove them to a Dutch oven (or other oven-safe pot or casserole dish.) Set aside.
- Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the same skillet used to brown the beef. Add the onions and celery, and season with a pinch of salt. Fry the onions and celery, stirring frequently, until they start to soften and become lightly golden around the edges. Stir in minced garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add flour and tomato paste to the vegetable mixture, and cook for one additional minute, stirring continuously.
- Add beer into the skillet, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits. Pour the mixture from the skillet into the pot containing the beef (everything is hot so be careful not to splatter and burn yourself!)
- Add beef stock, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and sugar. Stir to combine. You want to make sure the beef is just covered by liquid, so add a little extra beef stock or water if necessary.
- Cover the pot with a lid and place into the heated oven for 1 ½ hours, then remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Stir everything, adding more beef stock or water if it looks too dry. Place back into the oven for another 1 ½ - 2 hours, or until meat and carrots are tender.