As the saying goes, everyone’s a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day so I thought it would be fun to get into the spirit, literally with one of my favourite spirits – whiskey!
Ireland isn’t really known for its cuisine and likely wouldn’t top the list as a foodie destination, however there are definitely a few standouts gifted to the world from the Irish kitchen. Humble staples like soda bread, shepherd’s pie and of course, the comfort classic Irish stew. Typically made with beef, lamb or goat, this tender, sumptuous version gets a flavour spike with a splash of Irish whiskey. I used it to deglaze the pot after browning the meat – wow, what a treat for the senses. Take a moment to bask in the boozy steam cloud as the alcohol evaporates leaving its smooth flavour behind. Now THAT’S a facial. If you wanted to go one step further, you could add another splash into the stew itself but I didn’t want to use too much of my new bottle in one go. It’s perfectly fine as it is.
I used a new find for this recipe – Tullamore D.E.W. Original – but any whiskey or even bourbon would work. It’s so smooth and a small amount added to the stew adds complexity and a bit of a sweet touch; a delicious remnant of its time aging in bourbon and sherry casks.
TIP: Make this to have on hand for the day after St. Patty’s Day. It’ll soothe even the angriest of hangovers.
- 500 g (1 lb) lean stewing beef, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 2 cups turnips, peeled and sliced into ½-inch cubes
- 2 cups baby potatoes
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup Irish Whiskey
- 4 cups beef stock
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 3 – 4 sprigs fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Heat 1 tbsp olive in a large pot over medium heat. While the oil is heating up, combine the flour and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper in a shallow dish
- Pat beef cubes dry with a paper towel and gently toss in the seasoned flour mixture so the meat is evenly coated. This light dusting of flour will help thicken the sauce to a nice consistency as the stew cooks
- Brown the meat until it has a deep colour on all sides, remove to a bowl. Cook in small batches to avoid overcrowding – the meat needs some room to properly caramelize and develop flavour
- When all of the meat has been cooked, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add the chopped onion. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes until lightly golden, then add the whiskey.
- With a wooden spoon, gently scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze and release all of the tasty caramelized bits, then stir in the tomato paste
- Return the meat to the pot and add the carrots, turnips and potatoes
- Add the beef stock, just covering all of the ingredients. Add the thyme and parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2 hours
- After 2 hours, remove the lid and continue simmering for another 20 – 30 minutes so the sauce can reduce and thicken slightly
- Serve hot on its own, or with mashed potatoes or a thick slice of crusty bread