Tag Archives: beef

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

I love a bowl of rich Irish Stew any time of the year but, for certain, I will make it around St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a filling and tummy-warming stew that is always a welcome sight on the dinner table.

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

According to my research, traditional Irish Stew was made with cheap cuts of mutton or lamb and basic root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, onions, and turnips. Years ago, these would have been ingredients that were, no doubt, simply what would have been available at the time in the Irish countryside where sheep were raised for their wool and for food and when, before the potato famine, potatoes were a primary Irish crop.

Over the years, Irish Stew recipes have changed according to the locale and what ingredients are available in the cook’s local area.  For example, beef is often used in North America today instead of lamb in Irish Stew and other ingredients are added to make a more flavourful, hearty stew as opposed to a broth-like dish.  Purists might argue that these changes result in a brand new stew recipe altogether and is something entirely different than the original Irish Stew.

Regardless what it is called, I like my version of Irish Stew!  It has a nice rich, robust flavour and a splendid reddish-brown color that comes primarily from the addition of tomato paste with the aid of some red wine and the Guinness.  Using Guinness and red wine also helps to tenderize the meat and also adds to the flavour of the stew.  I don’t add huge amounts of either as the intent is not to “drown” the natural flavours of the beef and veggies but rather to blend and enhance flavours.

Any kind of potato can be diced and used in this recipe.  However, with the ready availability of mini potatoes in recent years, I like to use the tiny potatoes left whole with peelings on. I think they add an interesting element to the stew. If you can’t find the really small, mini potatoes, use slightly larger small potatoes sliced in half, lengthwise.

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

The nice thing about Irish Stew (once you have all the veggies cut up) is that it is an all-encompassing meal with all the vegetables in one dish (no worries about getting different pots of vegetables all cooked at the same time for the meal and a real bonus of only having one pot to wash).  This meal-in-one stew really needs nothing more for a hearty meal than a slice of bread, rolls, or garlic bread and perhaps some homemade mustard pickles on the side.

I like to slow-cook this stew in the oven at 325°F for a couple of hours as opposed to cooking it on the cooktop.  I find oven-cooking allows the flavours to slowly blend and the stew to gradually thicken as it cooks. The longer the stew cooks, the thicker the sauce will be but the stew should be cooked only until the vegetables are fork-tender, not mushy. If the sauce has not all cooked up with the vegetables (some varieties of potatoes, for example, will soak up more sauce than others), it makes a great dipping sauce for the bread or rolls!

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

Ingredients
3/4 pound stew beef chopped
1 – 1½ tbsp olive oil

1 cup carrots sliced
2/3 cup parsnips, sliced or diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup turnip, diced
1 leek sliced  (white and light green part only)
3 cups potatoes, diced OR 1 lb mini potatoes (left whole)

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 – 5.5 oz can tomato paste
1 – 10 oz can beef consommé
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup Guinness
1 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 bayleaf

Instructions
Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 325°F.

Chop stew meat into bite-size pieces.

In large skillet, over medium heat, brown meat in 1 – 1½ tbsp olive oil.

Place vegetables and meat in greased 2½-quart roaster or casserole.

In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. Stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.

Cover roaster and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.

Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings

My Island Bistro Kitchen's Irish Stew

A rich hearty stew made with beef and a variety of vegetables and flavoured with Guinness and red wine

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb stew beef, chopped
  • 1 -1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 2/3 cup parsnips, sliced or diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup turnip, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 3 cups potatoes, diced OR 1 lb mini potatoes (left whole, peelings on)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 5.5 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 10 oz can beef consommé
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bayleaf

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Chop stew meat into bite-size pieces.
  3. In large skillet, over medium heat, brown meat in 1 - 1½ tbsp olive oil.
  4. Place vegetables and meat in greased 2½-quart roaster or casserole.
  5. In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. Stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.
  6. Cover roaster and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.

Recipe Notes

Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread.

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Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

Savory Cottage Pie

My Island Bistro Kitchen's Cottage Pie
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Cottage Pie

I first had Cottage Pie (although I didn’t know that’s what it was) many years ago as a small child at Camp Segunakadeck (Seggie) on the south shore of PEI.  I came home from summer camp raving about this yummy dish and trying to describe it to my mother.  As a seven or eight-year old, my descriptions of culinary delights would not have been enough for even a seasoned professional chef to be able to concoct some resemblance of the meal.  The description would have went something like this…there was hamburg and ‘stuff’ on the bottom and mashed potatoes on the top and it was made in a large pan.  Many years later when I would recall my camping experience, I was always reminded of this dish which I have since come to realize was likely a version of Shepherd’s or Cottage Pie, most likely the latter.

In the years since, I have tried many recipes for Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie but none were very flavourful and I was never satisfied with the result.  One thing I learned not so long ago is that, while both have a cover of mashed potatoes on top of the meat, there is a difference between the two:  Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground (or minced) lamb and Cottage Pie is made with ground (or minced) beef, more commonly known as hamburg.  So, while many of us use the generic name “Shepherd’s Pie” when referring to this dish, if we are using ground beef, then it’s really Cottage Pie we are making.  The great thing about Cottage Pie is that you can add any veggies you like (or eliminate any you don’t) or you can make it primarily with meat and very few vegetables.

The recipe I have created for my tomato-based Cottage Pie contains a lengthy list of ingredients and, I will forewarn, it does take a bit of time to make.  However, the end result is worth the effort and this comfort food freezes well (unbaked) so it’s a great dish to have on hand in the freezer for busy nights when everyone arrives home hungry for dinner and no one has the energy to make a fulsome meal from scratch.  Serve the Cottage Pie with string beans, asparagus, or a green salad.

Cottage Pie

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb extra-lean ground beef

 

1 tbsp. olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup diced carrots

2 tbsp diced parsnip

½ cup chopped celery

¼ cup chopped green pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

2-3 oz. button mushrooms, sliced

2 tbsp flour

2 ½ tbsp tomato paste

½ cup tomato sauce

1 tbsp ketchup

1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juice

½ cup tomato soup

¼ cup red wine

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 cup beef broth

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tsp. molasses

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1 bay leaf

Pinch coriander

Pinch ginger

Pinch cinnamon

½ cup frozen peas

½ cup frozen corn

 

Potato Topping:

2 lbs potatoes

½ cup milk

1 egg yolk

Sea salt

Ground pepper

3 tbsp soft butter

Pinch nutmeg

¼ cup grated cheese of choice

 

Paprika

 

Directions:

Assemble ingredients.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large frypan.  Brown meat over medium-low heat.  Drain off any excess fat.  Set aside.

In large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil.  Sauté onion, carrot, parsnip, celery, green pepper, and garlic for 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat.  Add mushrooms.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, and ketchup.  Cook 1-2 minutes.

Add canned tomatoes, tomato soup, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, beef broth, salt, pepper, molasses, and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce heat to medium-low.

Add cooked ground beef and spices.  Cook 3-4 minutes until mixture is heated.

Add frozen corn and peas and cook 2-3 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.

Potato Topping

Cook potatoes.  Drain.  Mash.  Transfer mashed potatoes to bowl of stand mixer and whip for apx. 2 minutes on high speed with milk, egg yolk, salt, pepper, butter, nutmeg, and grated cheese (I used Parmigiano Reggiano).

Preheat oven to 350F.

To assemble:

Spray casserole dish or individual ramekins with cooking spray.

Remove and discard bayleaf and spoon meat mixture into dishes, filling each a scant ¾ full.  Top with spoonfuls of whipped potatoes to the top of the casserole or ramekins.  With knife, gently spread potatoes so meat mixture is entirely covered.  Using tines of a fork, create a decorative pattern on the potato topping. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes, until topping starts to brown.  Remove from oven and let stand 8-10 minutes.  Serve with steamed green beans, asparagus, or a green salad.

Makes 8-9 servings

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Cottage Pie
Savory Cottage Pie