I found a recipe for Guinness Stew in the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, and was all set to make it as written, when I came across a new (to me, at least) show on the Cooking Channel: “Bitchin’ Kitchen” with host Nadia G. Nadia made a lovely looking stew in two phases – the first in which you brown the meat and cook it in juices with aromatics to impart flavor; then chuck the soggy veggies and replace ‘em with a batch freshly roasted in the oven.
You get the lovely roasted flavor of potatoes, carrots, onion and whatever else you like, tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, then baked; and none of the super mushy, somewhat greasy traditional stew veggies cooked with the meat in the juices from the very beginning. I should also note that I took advantage of this two-step plan when I tossed the original cooking veggies to separate the meat from the cooking liquid – both of which I covered and stashed in the fridge overnight, allowing me to pick off and toss the rather good sized layer of solidified fat before putting the meat, clarified juices and freshly roasted new veggies back together for the final cook.
Both recipes called for flour at various stages – dredging the beef in it before the initial browning, and stirred into a roux added later to help thicken the juices. I did neither. We had a friend coming for dinner who is gluten intolerant, and I felt a slightly runny jus a small compromise to keeping all of our guests happy and healthy. I had THOUGHT I’d stumbled upon an incredible gluten-free popover recipe; but da Google was playing games with me, and I had to fall back on my old regular recipe and trust that our guest would be fine with just the stew.
OK, let’s get started:
•2 tbsp oil
•2 lb stew meat – I also added a couple of beef bones from the butcher
•2 tbsp tomato paste
•14-oz Guinness (NOT extra stout)
•32-oz chicken broth
Start the stew by searing the meat in oil in a Dutch oven until crusty on both sides – about four to five minutes.
Remove meat and add onion, scraping up any browned bits.
Pour in broth and Guinness; add meat, bones and any juices, tomato paste, celery, parsley, carrots onion, garlic and peppercorns.
Remove meat from the liquid and set aside to cool. Strain the liquid to remove most of the veggies and peppercorns. Cover the meat and the liquid in separate containers and stash in the fridge overnight.
Roast at 375º for about 45 minutes.
THE LAST BIT (PROMISE!)
While the veggies are roasting, bring the meat out of the fridge and up to room temperature. Take the stock out of the fridge and pull off and dispose of the solid chunk o’ fat on top (and as much of any stragglers as you like).
Combine the meat, the roasted veggies and the clarified stock in a Dutch oven or slow cooker. I added another 32 oz. of chicken stock at this point, as well as a good dash of Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce. Cover and cook for another hour or two – plenty of time to linger over cocktails and munchies with friends, and to toss some popovers together.
Serve with popovers, fresh parsley and, couldn’t hurt, a nice dab o’ the black horse sauce.
I am quite filled with stew and contentment.