Last year I made a batch of chili on Super Bowl Sunday, but this year I decided to go with a Guinness Irish Stew. The latest issue of DRAFT Magazine featured a few slow cooker recipes that included a simple yet tasting looking recipe for one.
I got up a little after 7am (which I had to do anyway to let the dog out) to begin the preparations. I started by cutting up the stew meat, dusting it with salt and pepper and then coating it with flour before browning it in a hot and smoking cast iron skillet. I then added two bottles of Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout to the pan and let it cook for a minute more before pouring the entire mixture into the crock-pot. I also deglazed the pan with some more Guinness to ensure I got all the tasty brown bits off the bottom. The remaining ingredients of chopped up carrots, celery and mushrooms, a small bag of frozen pearl onions, garlic, thyme and beef stock where also added. The lid was closed and it was left to cook on low for almost 10 hours.
It turned out to be more of a "stoup" (thinner then a stew but thicker then a soup), probably due to extra moisture from the fresh mushrooms that I put in which were not called for in the original recipe. I add mushrooms to almost everything and I thought the stew was just crying out for them. However, the flavour was great and the meat was extremely tender and falling apart in the pot. I'd certainly make it again, but I'd probably add a little less beer or broth if adding mushrooms. I'd also like to try it with different stouts to see how the beer affects the flavour.