Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Irish Beef Stew

Yes, I'm a day late (and a lot of dollars short!), better late than never I always hear people say.  So, how was everyone's St. Patrick's Day?  Mine was just another day.  Got up at 6:45 am, took my 5 year old to school, came home, posted to my blog, worked out, took a shower, updated my accounts on Goodbudget.com, played with my 2 year old, did some school work, did laundry, searched through Pinterest for new recipe ideas, made a St. Patrick's Day dessert, picked up my 5 year old from school, took my mother-in-law back to Walmart, didn't get back home until 5 pm, stressed about whether I'd have enough time to make a tasty Irish beef stew before bedtime, finally started making dinner, ate dinner, cleaned the dishes, got my little boys in bed, watched the Voice, caught up on the NO new details of missing flight 370 and finally crawled into bed around 11:15 pm.  Yup, that's pretty much a normal day for me.

Speaking of flight 370, are you as addicted to the story as I am.  I drove to Denver (that's a 4 hour drive one way) and back this past weekend and pretty close to the whole drive was spent listening to CNN on Sirius radio hoping for some exciting new information.  But it's all just speculation, its getting very frustrating, I can't imagine how the families of the missing people must feel right now.  Even as frustrating as it is for me, I can't stop myself from watching or listening to CNN hoping they have finally found the plane.  How does a huge plane like that go missing?  I mean, my iPhone has an app on it that allows me to find it if it's missing, shouldn't these planes have the same thing?  Log in to your iCloud, send out a ping and voila, the missing plane is found.  OK, not that easy?  Fine, I'll let all the investigators do their jobs and keep my mouth shut.  I do pray that they find it soon, for the sake of the families.  It is truly a heartbreaking situation.

For St. Patrick's Day we had Irish beef stew for dinner.  I knew I'd never get my 5 year old and my 2 year old to eat corned beef and cabbage so I tried for something a little more kid friendly for our dinner.  This was the first time I had ever made Irish beef stew and let me tell you...it was amazing!  I think you'll enjoy the recipe.  Don't wait for the next St. Patrick's Day to roll around, make this any night of the week, any month of the year!

Irish Beef Stew
(my Instagram picture, one beer for the recipe, one for the cook to drink!)

2.5 lbs of stew beef, cut into 1/2" by 1/2" pieces 
about 1/3 cup flour
3 Tablespoons of canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups white mushrooms, chopped
3 teaspoons minced garlic
6 oz tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
3 bay leaves
12 oz Killian's Irish Red beer
2 large russet potatoes, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
Parsley for garnish

1. Heat 2T canola oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Toss meat in flour, lightly coat and shake off excess.
2. Brown meat in pot in batches.  You don't want to crowd the meat, you want it to brown not boil.  I did mine in 3 different batches.  Cook meat for about 2-3 minutes, just until browned.  Remove from pot and set aside.
3. Heat 1T oil, add onions, mushrooms and garlic.  Cook until onions become translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Return meat to pot with tomato paste, broth, bay leaves and beer.  Mix well.
4. Add potatoes and carrots.  Bring stew to a light boil and allow stew to simmer for about an hour on medium-low heat, until veggies are soft and meat is tender.  Remove bay leaves before serving.
*Note: My stew was the perfect thickness after an hour of simmering.  If your stew is too thin mix 1 Tablespoon of corn starch with 2-3 Tablespoons of water in a bowl and mix into the stew right before serving.  Allow corn starch to thicken the stew to desired thickness and then serve.  It should only take 3-5 minutes to get it to thicken up a lot!

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