My parents came for a visit this weekend. It is always exciting when we have family come visit and I try to plan special meals that I know they will love. So earlier in the week, I started thinking about what tasty meals I could come up with to impress them. Last year when they were here for a visit, we all went out to dinner at our favorite local Irish Pub. I had the Guinness Pot Pie which was very tasty. It was served in an individual little serving dish and topped with a puff pastry. I am not much of a beer drinker, but I do like dark stout beer and I love Guinness. It’s one beer I really enjoy and I love that you can cook with it. I enjoyed that Guinness Pot Pie, but I wanted to make my own version into a Shepherd’s Pie with homemade mashed potatoes on top. If you are not familiar with shepherd’s pie. It is usually a meat and vegetable stew dish that is topped with mashed potatoes. I can hardly think of anything that doesn’t taste wonderful with buttery mashed potatoes on top or nearby, can you?
One thing about this recipe is that it takes a long time for the flavors to develop. The hands on prep time and level is pretty easy, but it requires a good amount of cooking time for the deep, rich flavors to develop. Be sure to read the Time Saver Tips below the recipe for ways to cut down on your time in the kitchen. This recipe is very versatile, you can serve it topped with mashed potatoes as a shepherd’s pie like I did, or you could just serve it alone as a beef stew. You could also spoon the stew over top of mashed potatoes, or spoon it over an open-faced biscuit for another alternative. It may not be the prettiest meal you’ve ever made, but it sure has great flavor.
Here are a few pictures of the cooking process
Guinness Beef Stew
2 lbs bone in beef spare ribs
1 medium-large onion – diced
4 cloves garlic – minced
3 large carrots – diced
3 stalks of celery – diced
4 potatoes – peeled and diced. I just used russet
1 10-12 oz bag of frozen sweet peas
8 TBS Butter
5 TBS All Purpose Flour
1 teas Italian Seasoning blend
1 teas rubbed Sage
1 teas Thyme leaves
Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 TBS Olive oil
5 C low sodium Beef Stock, or 5 teas Beef Soup base dissolved in 5 C boiling water
12 oz of Guinness beer
1. Season the bone in beef short ribs with salt and pepper.
2. In a large heavy pot, heat up the olive oil and sear the seasoned short ribs for 2 min per side until they have a nice brown crust. Remove the ribs from the pot and set aside. Do not clean the pot. Leave all the bits in the bottom of the pot.
3. Add 3 TBS of butter to the same large pot on medium heat.
4. Add in diced onion and saute for a few minutes.
5. Add in Garlic and stir to prevent burning.
6. Add in diced potatoes, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper and stir for a minute.
7. Pour Guinness into the pot and turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. I think it’s important to always save that last sip from the bottle or can for the cook to enjoy.
8. Stir and let the Guinness and vegetables boil for about 5 minutes.
9. Add in the 5 C of beef stock or beef soup base/boiled water mixture.
10. Add in the Italian Seasoning, Sage, and Thyme.
11. Return the reserved seared spare ribs to the pot. I put the side with the most meat face down.
12. Turn the heat down to medium, cover the pot and continue to cook for a total of 2 – 2 1/2 hours until the meat is tender. Rotate the meat and gently stir the pot every half hour to 45 minutes.
13. If you are making this into a shepherd’s pie. Now is the time to start those mashed potatoes if you are making them from scratch. See recipe below then continue with step 14.
Homemade mashed potatoes
3-5 lbs of golden potatoes – peeled and diced
6 TBS butter
1/2 – 3/4 C milk
1/4 C Sour Cream
Kosher or sea salt
In a large pot, cover the diced potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Boil on medium – medium high heat for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Once the potatoes are tender, drain and return to the pot. Use a potato masher by hand, a potato ricer, or an electric mixer to blend the potatoes. Slowly blend the potatoes and add in enough milk and the sour cream until they are smooth. Add in the butter, salt, and pepper and stir until well combined. Be careful not to over mix or the potatoes will turn into sticky glue. Set aside, covered to keep warm until the beef stew is done.
Guinness Beef Stew cont . . .
14. Once the beef short ribs are tender and cooked, remove them from the pot and set aside. Once they are cooled a little, shred the meat with forks, removing excess fat and bones. Set the shredded meat aside.
15. Remove the vegetables and liquid from the large pot and strain the vegetables to separate the stew liquid and vegetables. Set all aside.
16. In the same large pot, on medium heat add 5 TBS butter and melt.
17. Add in the 5 TBS of flour and stir or whisk flour and melted butter for a few minutes until the roux becomes golden brown in color.
18. Pour the reserved stew liquid back into the pot, combining with the roux. Stir until well combined.
19. Add the cooked vegetables back into the pot, as well as the frozen bag of peas (uncooked).
20. Add the shredded beef into the pot and stir to combine all on medium heat.
21. Let this all simmer for 10-15 min, adjusting salt, pepper, or spices if needed. If making this into a shepherd’s pie, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
22. If serving this as a stew, you are finished. You can either serve alone, or pour on top or on the side of your mashed potatoes if you like, or serve on an open face biscuit.
23. If making this into shepherd’s pie, spray a large 9 x 13 x 2 inch or larger pan with non stick spray. You could also serve in individual or smaller oven safe serving dishes as well. Spoon the stew into the pan(s). You will probably have a little extra that will not fit into the pan. Top with mashed potatoes and spread until evenly coating the stew. You could also transfer the potatoes to a pastry bag or large disposable bag with a pastry tip and pipe the potatoes onto the stew. It’s a good idea to place the shepherd’s pie pan(s) on a jelly roll or baking sheet to help with any overflows during baking.
24. Bake the shepherd’s pie uncovered in the 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is lightly golden. Let it sit for 5 min or so before serving. This helps it set up. We were starving, so I just served it right away and it kind of made a sloppy mess on the plates. Still tastes wonderful either way.
Shepherd’s pie will feed 10-12 hungry adults.
I apologize, I didn’t get a lot of final pictures to share. It was late as this dish took a long time to make and we were starving.
** Time Saver Tips** The flavor of the short ribs is very rich, however that is what takes so long to cook. To speed this up, you could easily use leftover roast meat from a roast you make earlier in the week, or cut up stew meat that you simply brown on the stove, and then let cook in the beef stock and veggies in the slow cooker. Also, you could pre dice your celery and carrots the day or two before and just keep in your fridge until ready to use. Using frozen cut carrots and peas may help save time as well. If making mashed potatoes, making them the day before is always a great time saver. Using instant potatoes would also work and is perfectly fine. We enjoy Idahoan instant mashed potatoes all the time. You could always make the stew in a slow cooker as well. You would just want to make your roux mixture in a separate pot on the stove and then add some of the beef stew liquid to the roux mixing thoroughly. Then add this roux beef mixture to the slow cooker along with the rest of the beef stew liquid and veggies and stir and keep on low until thickened. If using the slow cooker, you could still top with mashed potatoes if you want, but it may be difficult to try to give every serving the same amount of mashed potatoes so I would have them separate.
Now, to go along with this delicious Guinness shepherd’s pie and beef stew dish, I decided to make a Guinness Chocolate Stout Cake. I love Guinness. I love chocolate, so sounded like a good plan to me. I used the recipe from kingarthurflour.com. You can find the recipe here for their Chocolate Stout Cake. I followed the recipe from the website. I only found one issue when mixing the final batter. It seemed really thick and needed a bit more liquid. I’ll admit, it may have been from that last swig of Guinness in the bottle that I reserved for myself, instead of adding to the cake. I just added a few TBS of water to the batter and it thinned out fine. The cake turned out well, but oh my it is rich. I love chocolate, but it is so rich, you want a tall glass of water to help wash it down. I guess it’s good because you only want a small little piece due to the richness. I’ve made other chocolate cakes, which honestly I prefer over this one. I will still share a few pictures of it and thought I’d add it to this post in case any of you want to give it a whirl. If I make it again, I will swap out some of the dark cocoa for regular. Kingarthurflour.com is a great resource with loads of information and recipes so take a look.
I hope you give the Guinness Shepherd’s Pie and Beef Stew a try. My family loved it and my Irish loving parent’s really enjoyed the dish. I’ll definitely put it on my list for St. Patrick’s Day meals!