It’s been cruelly cold and frosty for the past couple of days up here, which means I had a choice to make. With a forecasted foot of snow on the way, I could either prepare myself to spend a couple of hours struggling to make a dent with my super-sad shoveling skills, or I could cook up a post-snowpocolypse dinner for the guys and try to subtly avoid going out in the cold. Is it even a slight mystery as to what I decided to do?
Ah, my cursed predictability. Yes, I made Guinness Beef Stew with Cheddar Herb Dumplings again.
Since I first published this recipe in 2014, it’s grown to be pretty popular– both on the internet and in my home.
I’ve made this stew at least a dozen times to get James and I through the winter’s chill, and always have enjoyed a bottle or two of the leftover Guinness to reward myself for a job well done. Because at the risk of coming off a bit conceited here, I’ve gotta say that I’m always proud of myself when I make Guinness Beef Stew with Cheddar Herb Dumplings. There’s something so gratifying about making a dish that’s filled with deeply flavorful vegetables, unbelievably tender meat, and an incredibly rich gravy. And when you throw some cheesy dumplings on top, it just gets that much better.
Not to mention it got me out of having to shovel, so that’s an accomplishment in its own right. The guys didn’t seem to mind at all when there was a big bowl of warm beef stew waiting for them when they came back inside.
I used the opportunity to snap a few new pictures and update the recipe, since I’ve tweaked my method of making the stew a bit in the years since I first shared it. (And since I recently got this gorgeous Mauviel pan that I’m OBSESSED WITH.) The stew is now better than ever before, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. And I’ll tell you what, corned beef and cabbage is good and all, but it doesn’t come close to touching the depth of flavor you get with this stew.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that this recipe is only good for Irish holidays. This is one of those go-to staple dishes that you’re going to crave whenever it gets cold, just like we do. And when you do make it, though it’s hard to resist, don’t dig in right away. Stews might not be the prettiest things ever, but I think this one looks just as cozy and satisfying as it tastes– so snap a picture and tag #hostthetoast on Instagram to show it off. I know you’re going to love it!
- For the Stew:
- ¼ pound bacon
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 4 sticks celery, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large potatoes or parsnips, diced
- 1 turnip, diced
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 1 (12 ounce) bottle Guinness
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, or as needed
- ½ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- Chopped parsley
- For the Cheddar Herb Dumplings:
- 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅓ cup shortening
- ¾ cup shredded Irish sharp cheddar
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, and thyme, chopped
- Cook the bacon in a large, oven-safe, heavy-based pot or high-walled saute pan over medium heat.
- Remove the bacon, crumble, and set aside, but leave the bacon fat in the pot. Season the beef with salt and pepper and fry in the bacon fat until browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pot, fry the onion, celery, and carrots until soft and fragrant, adding a little oil if necessary.
- Add garlic and fry for another 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste.
- Pour in the Guinness and Worcestershire sauce. Allow to come to a simmer and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the beef back to the pot and pour in the chicken broth. Add the bay leaf and thyme.
- Reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 1½ hours. Add the potatoes or parsnips and the turnip. Simmer for another ½ hour, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Remove the bay leaf and thyme branches. If the stew is still thin, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water to form a slurry. Mix the slurry into the stew and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer again, stirring occasionally, and add in the mushrooms if desired. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, until the stew thickens and the mushrooms are cooked through. Stir the bacon back in. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Stir together the self-rising flour and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cheddar cheese, then add the milk and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.
- Make small balls with the dough and place them on top of the stew, leaving them room to expand-- they grow a lot as they cook. Place the stew in the oven uncovered and bake until the dumplings are browned and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Garnish the stew with parsley and serve.
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