The Gourmet Club met the first weekend in March for a meal fit for the Irish gentry. My wife and I had responsibility for the appetizers, and as highlighted previously in the blog, we made Irish Egg Rolls. One of my sister-in-laws (I have four of them) made Irish Stew for the soup course and also wrote the following blog post. Pam has not cooked as much as some of the other guest bloggers on the site, so brings a different perspective. Welcome guest blogger Pam!
Me? a Gourmet? Not bloody likely!
Last summer when my brother-in-law asked me to be a part of his newly formed Gourmet Club, I must admit I was quite skeptical to say the least. Me? A Gourmet? Let’s just say my most common food groups consist of Pizza, Pop Tarts, and Pepsi. Often, I have to take several attempts at a grilled cheese sandwich before finally turning something out that is eatable and not charcoal. Upon further consideration, I thought of it as a new adventure – and I love adventures! My boyfriend (Danny – author of the New Years Discovery post) loves to cook, which is why I do not starve. I figured my boyfriend can do the cooking, and I can do the menus, table settings, and decorations. I am also good at taste testing. So, I signed on.
Three quarters in I am happy to report that the Gourmet Club is something I not only enjoy but look forward to. Wonderful food, wonderful people, and I am actually learning something! Go figure. I never thought that cheese could be made from scratch, but I’ve learned differently thanks to The Ranting Chef. Go figure. This month the theme is Irish! With my Irish name, I thought I can do this. It has to be in my genetics somewhere, right? So, I went to the grocery store with list in hand in an attempt to make my first Irish Stew. The Gourmet Club is tonight! First let me say that I combined 3 recipes I found online. The shortest cook time for any of them was 6 hours! Really? I’m never home more than 6 hours at a time. Who in their right mind? Yes, you can do all of this in a crock pot or slow cooker, but I can’t bring myself to leave an appliance on when I’m not home. So, I was on a mission…. Make a fabulous Irish Stew in less than 2 hours. Here’s how:
Irish Beef Stew (Serves 8)
Note: I substituted the original recipe called for lamb. I substituted beef for the lamb. Personal choice.
- Bag of red potatoes (it’s not Irish unless it involves potatoes)
- 1 large white onion
- 1 bunch of carrots
- 1 bunch of celery
- 2 gloves of garlic
- 1 bunch of bay leaves
- Black Pepper
- Thyme (Heard of it, but didn’t know what it looked like)
- Guinness (this I know)
- 1 6oz can of tomato paste
- 2 lbs. Choice Beef Loin Cubed
- 1 large roasting bag
- 1 can of beef broth (just in case)
Preheat the over to 350.
Take 8 potatoes and quarter them. Chop ½ the white onion, the bunch of carrots and the celery stalks. Mince the garlic and crush up the bay leaves. Put all of this in the roasting bag. In the bag add salt, paprika, black pepper, and thyme. Pour one bottle of Guinness stout beer into the bag over everything, then fill the bottle again with water and pour the water into the bag too. Secure the bag loosely with a nylon tie. Lay the bag into a roasting pan and cut 4 small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Put the bag in a roasting dish and in the over for 1 ½ hours.
Sit back and drink a bottle of Guinness.
Check on it at the 1 hour mark. Open the bag and add more water if needed. When done, cut the roasting bag open and let it fall into the pan. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Grab a sauce pan and take some of the juices from the roasting pan and put them in the sauce pan. Add the 6 oz. can of tomato paste, a bottle of Guinness and the can of beef broth (if needed, if you do not have enough juices from the pan). Heat and stir until thickened. Add cornstarch if needed.
Take contents of roasting pan and put it in the crock pot or slow cooker. Pour the contents of the sauce pan over everything in the crock pot. Set to Low until ready to serve or transport. The longer it sits the thicker the broth will be.
Leaving in one hour…Unplug and take it to the Gourmet Club. I’ll be looking for comments on this page to see how I did. Be gentle, I’m learning. I probably just committed some carnal sins of cooking the proper way. Right now, all I know is that it smells wonderful and looks yummy.