Irish Stew

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The Cooking Cardiologist, Dr. Richard Collins shows us how to make Irish Stew.

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A stew by any other any other name would just be a stew. So what makes it Irish? Perhaps it is just the time of the month on St. Patrick’s Day. The ingredients are pretty much the same for any meat stew except the addition of Irish beer.

It has been said that the Irish beer adds properties of a meat tenderizer, fortifier, and flavor enhancer…or maybe it has been the ingenuity of an Irish pub owner or Guinness? Traditionally the original descriptions date to 500 BC after the Celtic invasion of Ireland during the Iron Age. A large cauldron became the dominant cooking vessel to use over a fire pit. Goat meat, vegetables and water would be added to serve many hungry warriors.


The first recipe appeared in 1874 Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery with numerous illustrations; Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.: London, 1874 (p.331). The usual recipe was with lamb and not beef. There are a number of variations on the theme with lamb, beef, buffalo and vegetarian options. The Irish would say that it is not truly Irish, but it is the spirit of the Irish. Enjoy.


1½ pounds of sirloin beef (sirloin, rump roast, chuck roast) lean, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes or lean cut lamb
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large shallots, chopped
1 (14.9-ounce) bottle Guinness draught beer
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste, low sodium
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 herb wrapped bunch of fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano, 2 sprigs each wrapped in cooking twine
2 dried bay leaves
1 (32-ounce) container of low sodium beef stock
6 small red potatoes, washed and quartered or 12 mini-mixed colored red/purple/yellow potatoes

1 leek, rinsed and finely chopped

5 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch segments
For garnish: 1/4 cup finely-chopped fresh parsley and optional bunch of chopped clover sprouts

Prepare a small dish to dredge the beef chunks in the flour. Make sure each is coated with flour and seasonings of salt and pepper. Working in small batches to avoid crowding of the beef segments, add the prepared beef cubes to the soup pot or Dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and brown on all sides. When each batch of beef is browned, remove from the pot and set aside.

Add the remaining olive oil to the Dutch oven and let it heat up again. Add shallots and leek. Sauté for 4 minutes, until translucent. Pour in 1/2 can of Guinness beer and the beef broth. Bring to a boil. Use a spatula to deglaze the bottom of the pot, scrape up and loosen any browned bits from the bottom.  Add the tomato paste, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, herb wrapped spices, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for approximately 5 minutes.

Set oven to 3000F.Turn the cooktop heat back up to medium-high. Add the beef, the remaining Guinness beer. Stir until combined. Bring just to a boil again. Remove from heat and cover with lid. Place in the oven and cook for 2-3 hours until beef and vegetables are cooked fully. Remove from oven and plate for 6 servings. Garnish with fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and optional clove sprouts for good luck. Serve with Irish Soda bread and of course, Irish beer.

For options, consider lamb or even chicken. For a vegetarian alternative, try using tempeh (fermented soybean) or parsnips.

Serves six. Serving size: 1/6 of recipe

Nutrition Info: Calories: 540, Total Fat: 21 g, Saturated Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 60 mg, Sodium: 330 mg, Carbohydrate: 50 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 35 g

Diabetic Exchanges: 5 Carbohydrate, 6 medium fat meat

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