Irish Beef Stew

When you think of Irish food.. most people think of Corned Beef and Cabbage.... but there is a lot more to Irish Cuisine... and this delicious Beef Stew is one of them...
A hearty beefy stew... served with mashed potatoes and Irish Soda Bread... a true delight!
You can make this either on the stove or in a crock pot... but if you use a crock pot for the simmering part.. you will need to start the stew on top of the stove...
I served this over mashed potatoes.. which makes a killer meal... but if you don't want to bother with making mashed potatoes.. you can always make peeled and quartered potatoes in the stew.
I used small Belgian carrots instead of cutting up regular ones.. saves time.. looks good... and it's easy.. can't beat that.
The recipe calls for a dark beer... I used Guinness ... yep.. snagged a can from Warren's stash...
Don't be tempted to omit the beer... it gives this stew a hearty flavor.. you would never know it was beer... truly.. I would never lie to you.
The stew is not super thick... if you like it thicker.. you will need to thicken it with a bit of cornstarch in some beef broth.. and add it to the stew.... I don't recommend it.. it really is wonderful like it is.
If you are lucky enough to have leftovers... if you think it's good the first time.. wait until you taste the leftovers... they are absolutely fabulous!
I hope you try this delicious stew!

Recipe:  Irish Beef Stew
All you need:
2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
4 slices thick sliced smoked bacon, cut-up
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 large handfuls of baby carrots
2 celery stalks, cut into small pieces
1 can (14.9 oz) Guinness beer
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
beef broth
All you need to do:
Brown the chopped bacon in a large skillet... allow it to render it's fat but not get crispy.. you want it still pliable.
Remove the bacon but leave the fat in the skillet.  Put the cooked bacon in a heavy stew pot.  Add the beef and quickly sear the meat over medium high heat.  Cook the meat in batches.. as it's done put the seared meat into the pot with the bacon.
Add the onions to the skillet... stir them around to coat them with whatever grease is left in the skillet.... cook until soft over medium high heat ... about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and turn the heat down to medium heat and continue cooking for about 1-2 minutes.  Add the beer and scrap any bits that are on the bottom of the pan.
Pour the contents over the beef.  Add the tomato paste and stir it into the pot.  Add the sugar and thyme.  Add the carrots and celery and stir.  Add enough beef broth to just cover. 
Bring the pot to a low simmer and cover.  Simmer for about 2 hours or until the beef is tender, stirring occasionally.
Remove the cover and cook for another 30 minutes until the beef stew has thickened a bit. 
Serve over mashed potatoes.

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