Irish beef stew with Guiness broth

It’s that time of the year.  The most wonderful time of the year.  Time for some of our favorite foods.  I made Irish beef stew with Guiness broth last night and it was delish.  I’ve only been making it a couple months but have made it at least 5 times this year already.  Apparently we don’t need it to be St. Patty’s day around here to eat Irish.  So, if you’re looking for a new recipe to try this week, give this a whirl.  Your man will thank me you.

Irish Beef Stew with Guiness Broth

1-2 lbs. beef (cut in larger chunks)

4-6 carrots – cut in 1″ slices

1 large onion – diced largely

Minced garlic

1 bottle/can Guiness stout

2 cups beef broth

Rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, oregano…whatever you have that’s ‘stewy’ in your cabinet

Potatoes (any mashed recipe will do)

How to make

Here’s the thing, I don’t have an exact recipe and it comes out a little different every time…but equally as good.  We bought part of a cow last year, so the meat I use is usually just what’s on hand in the freezer.  Sometimes it’s beef stew meat, sometimes it’s a rump roast, and like last night, it’s a juicy steak.

1. After you cut the meat in medium to large chunks, season it with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the bottom of a stock pot with oil and sear the beef chunks.  Make sure they get brown on each side.  After they are brown (they don’t need to be cooked through…just the outside), transfer them to a bowl and do the rest of them.  I can fit about 7-8 pieces in the pan at once, so this part usually take about 3-4 batches.

3.  After all your meat is browned and sitting nicely in a bowl off to the side, dump in your carrots and onions.  Brown these as well.

4.  Once your veggies are browned, add some garlic.  Brown that a bit…but don’t burn it.

5.  Next, add your meat back to the pot.

6.  Pour the entire contents of Guiness bottle or can into the pot.  If you’re omitting the Guiness, shame on you.  I mean…oh…ok.  Just substitute more beef broth.

7.  Pour in enough beef broth to cover the contents by about an inch or so.  This usually takes about 1-2 cups.

8.  Next add your rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  You can add more S & P later, so don’t overdo at the beginning.

9.  Cover and let simmer for as long as possible.  I only did an hour and half last night but prefer to go longer.  The meat will just be more tender the longer you let it simmer.

10. When you’re ready to eat this, add about 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen peas to the pot.

11.  Last, add a thickener.  You can do flour and water, cornstarch and water, or flour mixed in melted butter.  I prefer the last part.

12.  Finally, scoop out some mashed potatoes (that you whipped up while the stew/soup was simmering) and then dump you stew on top.

13.  Enjoy.

 

For the potatoes, I just skinned 5 Yukon golds, cut them in large pieces, boiled until soft, drained, mashed, added butter and cream cheese and half & half, and Johnny’s seasoning salt.  Whew!  That was a lot in one sentence.  Really, this dish is more about the stew.  Or as my husband likes to call it…Stewp.  It’s a mix between both and we like it that way.

 

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Canning Mandarins

 Last summer, we started canning.  After a few months of no canning, I thought it was time to get the jars out and try something new.  Mandarins.

I love mandarins on Chinese chicken salad and so why not can them before we can’t find any in the stores.  This was a super easy canning project that was finished up within 1.5 hours…with about 5 minutes to spare before Downton Abbey started last night.

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Here’s what you’ll need (besides the obvious canning supplies):

5 lbs. Mandarins

Simple syrup

Easy Canning Method:

1.  Peel those mandarins.  Helps to have a helper and thank you Mr. Farmer for volunteering

2.  Pack peeled mandarins into 9 pint size jars

3.  Make your simple syrup.  I ended up making a 2:1 ratio because I didn’t want to risk having bitter oranges.  6 cups of water, 3 cups of sugar.  Bring your water to a boil, then slowly stir in sugar.  Keep stirring until it’s boiling again and allow to boil 1 minute.

4.  Pour simple syrup into jars with mandarins, leaving 1/2″ head space.

5.  Wipe rims clean, put your lids on.

6.  Process in a boiling water canner for 10-15 minutes.  Remember to not start timing until after you’ve reached a full boil.  I like to get my water almost boiling while I’m doing everything else. That way, when it’s time to process, you don’t have to wait too long for the water to heat up.

7.  After the processing, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then take out of water and line them up all pretty on the counter.  Resist touching them for 24 hours.  *Easier said than done*

And…hopefully, that’s it.  I’m going to allow them to sit for about a week to really let that simple syrup make them taste like candy.  Then we’ll have a salad or put them on salmon before grilling.  Yum!