Veggies and dip are hardly enough for a meal, so in continuation of our St. Patty’s Day exploration, here’s where the beer comes in. Just because I don’t drink it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it in other ways! It’s been exceptionally dreary around here for the past few days, and I’ve been craving comfort food – so a hearty Guinness stew under a blanket of flaky puff pastry seemed to be just the ticket. For extra tender beef, make the stew the night before – when you add and bake the puff pastry on top, it will reheat perfectly.
Guinness Beef Stew
2 lbs beef stewing meat, cut into 1″ cubes
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced small
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
12 cremini or white button mushrooms, cleaned and cut in halves
1/2 cup baby carrots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1 cup Guinness stout
1 1/2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/4 c finely chopped parsley
2 packages of frozen puff pastry (that’s right folks, I cheat on this. If you have time to make your own, by all means do!)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix flour, salt and a couple cracks of freshly ground black pepper in a shallow plate, then dredge the beef cubes in the flour. Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in the bottom of a heavy, ovenproof pot, and brown the beef in small batches. Set the beef aside.
In the same pot, over medium heat, cook onions, garlic, bay leaf and thyme, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. If there’s any leftover flour, add that too. Stir in the beef, mushrooms, parsley, tomato paste, beef stock, Guinness and Worchestershire sauce and bring to a simmer, then add carrots, cover and transfer to the oven for 2 hours. I like a slightly firm carrot, so if you want to be finicky like me, you can add the carrots halfway through cooking in the oven. After removing the stew, taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your liking. Everyone has different preferences, so tasting is an important part of getting a finished product that you like!
Let the stew cool completely before moving to the next step. (hence my previous advice of making it the day before – you don’t want to put raw puff pastry over a hot stew!)
Thaw the puff pastry and preheat oven to 425F. Roll puff pastry out into four squares, each large enough to fit overtop of an ovenproof soup bowl.
Divide the cooled stew evenly into four bowls, drape the puff pastry overtop and press lightly along the top edges and sides of the bowls. Brush tops lightly with milk, place bowls on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.