Friday, March 16, 2012

Guest Post – Beef & Guinness Stew

My husband Chris is an awesome cook. He does about 95% of the meal preparation in our house (I make us toast on the weekends haha) and never complains about the fact that he has to prepare me vegetarian meals alongside his meat-filled ones. His food is inventive and creative and it makes perfect sense that he would choose to start his own food blog. He’s decided to go by the name One Hungry Dude but before he launches his own site he’ll be guest posting here at Sugar and Shimmer every Friday. This is his first entry – we hope you enjoy!

Thanks for reading my first blog post!
I'm Chris, and over the next while, I'd like to take you on a food odyssey. I'm not a professional chef, though I have worked in a few restaurants over the last 15 years. But if there's a lesson I've learned from eight years in journalism, including the last 4.5 at a weekly community newspaper, it's that you don't need to be an expert to have a productive discussion or valued opinion. The same logic can apply to food; I've been cooking for my family for years, honing kitchen skills and discovering some tasty recipes along the way.

So here's my first meal idea for you, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Beef and Guinness Stew is one of my favourite holiday meals; I look forward to it every time March rolls around.


• 2 pounds stewing beef
• 3 tablespoons oil
• 2 tablespoons flour
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Pinch of chili powder and paprika
• 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
• 1 large tomato
• 6 mushrooms, stems removed and roughly chopped
• 1 1/4 cups Guinness
• 1/2 cup vegetable stock
• 2 cups largely diced carrots
• Tablespoon of dried thyme
• Teaspoon of sugar
• Chopped parsley, for garnish

Trim the meat of any fat or gristle, and cut into two-inch cubes. Toss beef with one tablespoon of the oil. In a small bowl, season the flour with salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika. Toss meat with seasoned flour. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides.

Meanwhile, set your slow cooker to high heat. Once the meat is brown, transfer it to the slow cooker, and add the onions, garlic, tomato, mushrooms and sugar. Stir, cover and cook gently for five minutes. Pour the Guinness and vegetable stock into the slow cooker. Add the carrots and thyme. Stir the mixture, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Cover and simmer over high heat for at least two hours. If you're planning to leave the stew for longer than that, reduce the heat on the slow cooker after two hours. Garnish the stew with parsley and serve.

While I love the tender chunks of beef, onions, mushrooms and carrots, the broth is what makes this stew special. So give it adequate time to simmer and meld together — if given the choice, I actually prefer reducing the temperature on the slow cooker, as suggested in the recipe, and letting the mixture stew for the entire afternoon — and you won't be disappointed. This is the perfect meal before a night of St. Paddy's celebrations.

Makes 4-6 servings.

— Recipe inspired by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s Beef & Guinness Stew

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