A classic with a twist, this Guinness Beef Stew recipe features rich Guinness beer for a subtle flavor boost that complements the tender beef and hearty vegetables so well. A simple trick makes this stew recipe so luxe and thick!
It's soup/stew season and my offering this winter is Guinness beef stew.
Delicious freshly-made and maybe even better the next day, soups and stews also have the designations of freezing well and being fairly easy to make. Cold weather MVPs all around.
While Guinness beef stew doesn't have the element of supersized orzo going for it like my favorite vegetable beef soup, it sure has a lot of pluses, too. Namely an excellent "mmm, what's that?" flavor, a rich and thick texture, and a new-to-me trick for perfectly thickening stews that works like a charm.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Adding a can/bottle of Guinness adds a special background note that doesn't overwhelm or become too pronounced. It just makes this recipe taste like really good beef stew.
- An unlikely dried spice blend complements these flavors so well.
- Using the right cut of beef, the right potatoes, and adding the ingredients at the right times ensures tender meat and vegetables that don't mush up into nothing.
- Combining butter and flour into beurre manié is an EASY game-changer in thickening beef stew just to your liking. There's no messing around with dredging the meat in flour or cornstarch slurries, etc.
- Stew Meat: For convenience I love to use pre-sliced stew beef, but if you'd rather cut it yourself, go for a boneless chuck roast. The kind of packaged stew beef I buy is from Butcher Box (not sponsored) and always comes out perfectly tender no matter the recipe.
- Oil: This is for searing the meat. Choose a neutral-flavored, high-heat cooking oil such as canola, vegetable, or avocado.
- Guinness: Either standard bottles or slightly larger cans (around 14.9-ounces) are fine to use. I tested this recipe with the basic Guinness Draught stout variety.
- Potatoes: Yukon gold potatoes are a great option for stews as they're hardier and don't break down as easily as Russet potatoes do.
- Carrots: Cut these into larger chunks so they hold up well to the simmer.
- Butter/Flour: These are combined together to form beurre manié. It's whisked into the stew near the end of the cook time to thicken it.
- Herbes de Provence: This spice blend may seem a bit out of place in a slightly Irish-inspired recipe, but I love the flavor it brings to this Guinness beef stew. It's big on thyme and rosemary, with a lovely mix of punchy herbs and even dried lavender.
- Sear the meat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat the canola oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat, then add about half of the meat. Sear until nicely browned, around 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, then repeat for the remaining meat.
- Saute vegetables. Add more oil to the pan and cook the onion and carrots for 6 minutes, then add the garlic. Add the tomato paste and mush it into the vegetables. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
- Deglaze. Pour a little bit of the Guinness into the pan and scrape up the burnt bits from the bottom as it bubbles up. Continue until the bottom is clean then pour in the rest of the Guinness.
- Simmer. Add the beef broth, water, browned meat, Herbes de Provence, and bay leaf and give everything a big stir. Cover the pot (leaving the lid open a crack for steam to escape) and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the potatoes. At the 45 minute mark, add the chopped potatoes. Cover again and simmer this Guinness beef stew for another 15 minutes.
- Make beurre manié. Add softened butter and flour to a small bowl and mix it together until an even paste develops. Shape it into a rough ball.
- Thicken the soup. Once the stew has been simmering for one hour, remove the bay leaf and skim any surface fat if desired. Add half of the beurre manié to the pot and whisk in as it melts. Simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes as the soup thickens, stirring in the frozen peas during the last several minutes of cook time.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Sear in batches. You don't want to crowd the pan when browning the stew meat as that'll lead to more of a steaming situation. Sear it in two (or more) batches so each piece gets a chance to brown nicely.
- Don't skip deglazing. All that burnt stuff on the bottom of the pan is delicious. It's called fond and provides a ton of flavor to this Guinness beef stew.
- Cover the pot, then don't. Once simmering, cover the pot (leave it open a crack so steam can escape) to keep the heat in. This helps cook the meat and prevents the liquid from evaporating. The stew will cook uncovered toward the end to help thicken it up.
- Think about timing. Stew recipes have wiggle room and don't need to be precise down to the minute. That said, the potatoes are added partway through the simmer time so they don't overcook and break down.
- Don't waste tomato paste. You'll likely have some leftover - did you know it's so easy to freeze tomato paste? It extends the longevity months.
Per Saveur, beurre manié is a French culinary term meaning "kneaded butter", in which softened butter and flour are combined into a paste. When parts of this paste are whisked into a soup, stew, or sauce, beurre manié thickens it efficiently and adds a silky luxe finish. Simmer rapidly for a minimum of 5 minutes after adding it to cook off the raw flour taste.
You can, though I've only made this recipe with Guinness. If choosing another beer I'd recommend using a roast-y darker variety (ale, porter, or stout) that isn't on the extreme ends of the spectrum: very bitter, very sweet, or wildly flavored.
Ladle leftover portions into a saucepan, cover, and heat on low-medium until sufficiently hot. You can also use the microwave to heat up leftover stew. If the leftovers have thickened up too much in the refrigerator, stir in a bit of water while heating to thin it back out.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Guinness Beef Stew
- 2 pounds stew meat
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil divided
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 large carrots peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 12- or 15-ounce bottle/can Guinness beer
- 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter softened
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup frozen peas optional
- Pat stew beef dry and season all sides with the kosher salt and pepper.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of the canola oil to a large pot set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add half of the meat and sear until nicely-browned on all sides, for 3 minutes per side. Remove seared meat to a plate. Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon canola oil to the pot and repeat for the remaining beef.
- Add the olive oil to the pot and lower heat to medium. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and work it into the vegetables, cooking for 3 minutes as it "caramelizes".
- Pour a bit of the Guinness (about ⅓ cup) into the pot to deglaze. Scrape up any burnt bits from the bottom of the pot using a wooden utensil. Add in the rest of the Guinness, beef broth, water, seared meat, Herbes de Provence, and bay leaf and stir.
- Cover the pot with the lid most of the way, leaving a small crack for steam to escape. Lower heat to a simmer and set the timer for 45 minutes, stirring periodically. At this time take the butter out of the refrigerator to soften.
- After 45 minutes of simmering, add the potatoes to the pot of stew and then continue to simmer covered for 15 minutes. Meanwhile add softened butter and flour to a bowl and work the two ingredients together until a paste develops (this is beurre manié). Form a ball and set aside at room temperature for now.
- After one hour of total simmer time, remove the lid from the pot, remove and discard the bay leaf, and skim any surface fat as you like. Add half of the beurre manié to the pot and whisk in. Let cook for 15 minutes uncovered.
- If using frozen peas there's no need to thaw, just add them several minutes before the stew is done. If at this point you'd like a thicker stew, whisk in the remainder of the beurre manié, then simmer afterward for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Start with adding half of the beurre manié, adding the second half after it's had the chance to simmer only if you'd like the stew to be thicker.
- Wrap any leftover beurre manié in plastic wrap and freeze for future use.
- Be sure to cover the pot (leaving it open just a crack) for the first hour of simmer time so the liquid doesn't evaporate too much.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer