Not just for St. Patrick’s Day, this classic Irish Stout Stew can be made for any occasion. This bowl of Irish countryside comfort is easy to make, using the culinary staples of carrots, celery, leeks, potatoes, along with some herbs (bay leaf, thyme and parsley). These flavors simmer together to create a flavor base for the meat, stock and Irish Stout to combine together and build a rich, hearty and comforting bowl of stew. Try this recipe with either beef or lamb meat, as both proteins play off the roast | coffee | chocolate notes found in the Irish Dry Stout beer style.
Note: Depending on the beer you choose to cook with, the finished dish will have less bitterness| astringency if you wait to add the Stout until the last 35- to 45-minute cooking period.
Trim any fat or sinuous tissue (if there is any) from the meat.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, adding the oil once the pan is hot. Lightly coat each piece of meat in the flour mixture and add to the Dutch oven, forming a single layer of meat. Using tongs, turn the cubes as each side browns, until all the surfaces of the meat are evenly golden brown. Transfer the browned meat to a bowl and repeat with any remaining meat.
Once all the meat has been browned, add the onions, thyme and bay leaves to the pan, sautéing until the onions are lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the stock, scraping off any of the brown bits (fond) from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the browned meat back to the pan, stirring to combine. Once the pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let gently simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir the pot periodically. The liquid will begin to thicken as the flour combines with the stock, making a thicker stew. Once the meat is tender, add the leeks, carrots, garlic, potatoes and stout, stirring to combine, and cook for another 35–45 minutes. Check the seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Once the vegetables are tender and the meat has that melt-in-your-mouth consistency, the stew is done.
Serve in a large bowl, garnishing with parsley. This dish will also benefit from making it the day before serving. Chill it and reheat the next day, letting the flavors meld and intensify.