Guinness Beef Stew (Irish Beef stew)
Rich thick Irish stew is made with tender pieces of beef, stock, Guinness beer, red wine, bacon, potatoes, carrots, celery and onions. A rich and robust Irish Beef Guinness Stew that will make your taste buds sing and speaks comfort like no other stew. There are many variations of beef stew around the world and a few famous examples include France’s Beef Bourguignon, and Hungary’s goulash, just to name a couple. What sets Ireland’s beef stew apart from others is the addition of Guinness stout. The stew simmers low and slow and you’re left with a deep and robust flavour with fork-tender beef, potatoes and the sweetness of the carrots.
My version of this stew is a little less traditional as I make mine with the unmistakable flavours of Guinness but with the addition of wine. I also cook bacon in to mine adding loads of extra flavour to the stew. The Guinness and wine flavours meld perfectly to give way to a deep, rich, lusciously savory sauce that simmers away to tenderize the beef. This combination makes for the most savoury and mouthwatering comfort food you’ll ever eat!
What goes in a Guinness beef stew?
Generally a Guinness beef stew is made with a tough cut of meat like a chuck roast/shoulder roast, boneless short ribs or a slow cooking beef, vegetables (like potatoes, carrots, celery, parsnips, mushrooms…), chicken or beef broth, tomato paste, seasoning, and of course, the Guinness beer. My version uses a bit of wine to deepen the flavours. As I mentioned above I also cook bacon into mine for extra flavour. Anything with Guinness in it usually has a very distinct and robust flavour to it - could be slightly bitter to some. I love it and I think it is what makes the stew distinct but if you do not like it then I suggest you use a more mild stout beer in its place. Some recipes call for adding in some prunes when adding the potatoes - the idea being that they help mitigate any possible bitterness from the beer. I have not tried it in this stew but I have in others and do love the subtle sweetness they add.
How to make Guinness beef stew
- Slice beef into large chunks 2-3 inches in size - not small bite size pieces.
- Season beef and brown in large dutch oven, then transfer to a plate. Do not skip this step- it’s important for the beef and the flavour of the stew.
- Cook bacon then add in onion and garlic, and cook several minutes, until softened.
- Add flour and tomato paste and stir well, then pour in Guinness beer, wine and stock, scraping the bottom of the pot.
- Return beef back to the pot. Stir in the bay leaves and thyme.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 2 hours.
- Uncover, add potatoes and simmer uncovered for another 30-40 minutes.(stove, slow cooker and instant pot directions below)
- Remove bay leaves and enjoy!
This is my favourite way to make a rich and delicious Irish stew. Serve over mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash or with some bread and butter. Nothing hits the spot more than a big bowl of this on a cold day. Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
- 2½ lb beef chuck, sliced into 2-3 inch chunks
- ¾ teaspoons each salt and black pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 4-6 oz (4 slices) bacon or pancetta chopped
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 400 ml Guinness Beer
- 1 cup of red wine
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups beef stock/broth
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½” thick pieces
- 2 large celery stalks, 1” pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme (or sub with 1 tsp dried thyme leaves)
- 3 medium size potatoes scrubbed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large heavy bottom pot over med/high heat. Add beef in batches and brown well on all sides. Remove onto plate and set aside. If you need to add a little more olive oil between batches feel free too
- Lower heat to medium. Add bacon and cook until fat is rendered 3-5 min
- Add the onion and the garlic and continue to cook with the bacon for another 3-5min. Cook until bacon is browned, then stir in carrot and celery.
- Sprinkle in the flour, and stir for 1 minute to cook off the flour. Then stir in the tomato paste and do the same.
- Pour in the Guinness, wine and beef broth/stock and stir well scrapping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
- Return beef into the pot (including any juices). Cover pot, lower heat so stew is simmering gently. Cook for 2 hours.
- Remove lid after 2 hours, stir in the potatoes and simmer for a further 30 - 45 minutes or until the beef falls apart at a touch, the potatoes are tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
- Skim off fat on surface, if desired. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves and thyme. Serve and enjoy with crusty bread.
- To make in the OVEN: Cover Dutch oven and bake for 2½ hours at 320°F. Remove lid then stir in potatoes and cook for a further 30-45 minutes uncovered to reduce sauce, as per recipe.
- To make in the SLOW COOKER: Reduce amount of broth by 1 cup. After you add the Guinness and broth/stock into the pot, bring to simmer and ensure you scrape the bottom of the pot well. Transfer everything into slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours. If sauce needs to be thickened or reduced further, simmer with slow cooker lid off or ladle some of the sauce into a separate saucepan and reduce on stove top. (more thickening tips below)
- To make in the INSTANT POT or pressure cooker. Brown meat as per recipe in the instant pot on SAUTÉ setting. Cook the bacon and then add the veggies, onion and garlic and sauté just 1-2 min. Add the tomato paste (Do NOT add the Flour at this point) and the beer, stock and wine scraping the bottom of the pot well so there are no brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Cover pot and pressure cook 30 min then quick release pressure, stir in potatoes and pressure cook another 10 min. Release pressure and allow stew to simmer. Mix 2 tbsp flour mixed with ½ cup water, pour into stew and allow it to simmer until reduced to your liking.
- HOW DO YOU THICKEN UP BEEF STEW if it’s still runny after cooking. The flour added in the recipe should do the trick but In case your stew doesn’t thicken up the way you’d like, use one of these methods: Mix 1-2 Tbsp cornstarch into 1-2 Tbsp of beef stock/broth or even water. Use a fork or spoon to mix it around until there are no lumps. Stir slurry into beef stew, and cook on low, stirring occasionally until thickened to your liking. Do the same as above, but use flour instead of cornstarch.
Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats