Crock It! Beef And Guinness Stew

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This was our St. Patrick’s Day meal. I had already made my traditional corned beef and cabbage the week before, but I still felt the need for a little something that spoke to my heritage. It will probably be one of our final stews of the season, now that it’s getting warmer and soon it will be grilling time.  There will be some slow cooker experiments with spring vegetables too, but I think this might be my last stew until the fall. Anyway, the original recipe from Fine Cooking has a pot-pie type  component made of phyllo dough. I did not do this not because I don’t like phyllo but because I didn’t have any. So for us, it was a stew with mashed potatoes.

Slow Cooker Steak and Guinness Stew

Ingredients:
1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour; more for rolling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 (12-oz.) bottle Guinness (or other stout)
1 cup lower-salt beef broth
2 large russet potatoes (about 1-1/2 lb.), washed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Nonstick cooking spray
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 9 oz.), thawed overnight in the refrigerator.< What’s Next:

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Toss the beef in the flour mixture to coat. Transfer the mixture (including excess flour) to a 6-quart slow cooker and then add the carrots, onion, garlic, and thyme.
  • Slowly pour in the Guinness and then stir in the beef broth. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Add the potatoes and continue cooking until the meat and the potatoes are fork-tender, about 1 hour more.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with the cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry sheet into a 10×14-inch rectangle. Put it on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden-brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly on a rack, and cut into quarters.
  • To serve, lay the puff pastry quarters in 4 wide, shallow bowls and spoon the stew over the pastry.

Notes from my experience:

This recipe was very easy to make and took almost no prep time at all. The fact that I did not have to brown the meat had a lot to do with that.

I didn’t use Guinness (or another stout) when I made it– I didn’t have any and didn’t feel like going out to get it. I used a McSorley’s ale instead–it was St. Patrick’s Day after all.

The flavors in the finished meal were very mellow. Great for my kids, but I felt it could have used a little more. Perhaps that was the beer, perhaps not. If I were to make it again, I’d probably brown the meat and vegetables first to add flavor.

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