Irish stew is a filling, flavorful peasant dish. It was originally made with the cheapest, most readily-available ingredients. The Irish raised primarily sheep and root crops for subsistence. The sheep provided wool for warm clothing, milk for drinking and making cheese, and eventually food. Potatoes were the main food crop, prior to the potato famine.
Irish stew, "ballymaloe" or "stobhach gaelach" as it is called in Gaelic, is traditionally made of lamb or mutton, potatoes, onions, and parsley. The root vegetables added further flavor and thickening power, as well as filling sustenance. Some cooks added turnips or parsnips, carrots, and barley.
When the Irish people began immigrating to the United States, fleeing from the ravages of starvation caused by the potato famine, they naturally brought along their wonderful hearty food traditions. The stew evolved and has adapted to include the local offerings. Since sheep were not as plentiful in America, other types of meat were often substituted. The recipe has evolved to often include Guinness Stout. Some variations have exalted this original peasant dish to near gourmet status.
- 1-1/2 lb. beef stew meat or sirloin cut in small cubes
- 1/2 cup flour to use in zip loc bag
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small box of white mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
- 2 TB. tomato paste
- 1/2 bottle of Guinness Draught beer
- 2 cups finely chopped carrots
- 1 cup each diced parsnips and celery
- 4 small red potatoes, quartered
- 2TB. parsley flakes
- 1/2 tsp. each allspice and celery seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. each marjoram, thyme and Rosemary
- 1TB. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups beef broth or chicken broth (use low sodium one)
- 3/4 cup each Bloody Mary Mix and V-8 juice or 1-1/2 cups V-8 juice
- 1/3 cup water mixed with 3TB. flour
- In a zip loc bag add ½ cup flour and shake beef cubes
- In a fry pan brown beef cubes in 2 TB. hot olive oil and set aside
- In same frying pan, saute mushrooms, minced garlic and onions until caramelized about 3-4 min.
- In a soup pot, add browned beef cubes, beef/chicken broth, V-8 juice, Bloody Mary juice and 1/3 cup water/ flour mixture, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, celery, mushroom/onion mixture, spices and yes don't forget the beer!!
- Cook on low heat covered about 1-1/2 -2 hours till carrots, parsnips and potatoes are done
- Discard bay leaves before serving
- Note: recipe works well in a crockpot, cook on high 4-5 hours