I am really excited because the start of college football season is just days away and fall is fast approaching. Even though it is a warm August Day here in Southern California, I have stews, soups, and pumpkin bread on the brain. Yum!
I’ve noticed that Pinners are starting to add more hearty meals on Pinterest and my food board is bursting with new recipes. Is it just me or do others find that the photos and recipes on Pinterest look fabulous, but never really taste as good as they look? Sadly, I think only 20% of the dishes I try are really worth the effort, are actually shared with friends, or are blog-worthy.
I can assure that this Irish Stew is worth every ounce of effort and calorie, too. Great for warming the belly on a chilly fall night … or a 90 degree summer night in So Cal too. This stew is just that good!
IRISH BEEF STEW
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. stew meat
4 large carrots, peeled & chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1 Bay leaf
2 c. beef broth
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 c. frozen peas
In deep skillet, brown stew meat in 2 tbsp. olive oil until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Pour in onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, and remaining Olive Oil. Add salt and pepper. Then add a little more salt – trust me … a couple of teaspoons work well in this recipe. Cook another 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with beef broth, simmer another minutes or so, and transfer stew to an oven safe pot. Cover and simmer stew in a preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees and cook another 2 hours or until meat is very tender.
Before serving, stir softened butter and flour together in a small bowl until smooth and incorporated. Remove Bay Leaf and stir butter mixture and frozen peas into the stew. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Once the gravy thickens slightly, it’s done. Serve hot over warm mashed potatoes (ahhh, so here’s the Irish part of the recipe!)
Tips: Beef browns more quickly and evenly when spaced apart. Normally I would use 2 skillets to brown the meat, but I was in a hurry! And, even though I love fresh herbs, dried are a-ok too. Whatever you have on hand – cooking should be fun and easy. Oh, and I am a huge fan of prepared, minced garlic. Just sayin …
Every family has their version of mashed potatoes. Here is the way I’ve made them for years:
HOMEMADE MASHIES (Mashed Potatoes)
4 large Russet Potatoes
4 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
5 turns of the pepper grinder (1/2 tsp.)
1/2 c. whole milk
Rinse, peel, and quarter potatoes. Put them into boiling water and cook until the center is fork tender (about 12 –15 minutes)
While potatoes are cooking, place butter, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Heat milk slightly (about 25 seconds in the microwave) and set aside.
Place cooked potatoes in the mixing bowl and add ¼ c. milk. Beat slowly at first scraping the sides every so often. Slowly add more milk as needed to achieve a firm, dense, yet fluffy mixture. Whip the potatoes for the last 20 to 30 seconds to smooth – out those last few pesky lumps. Because potatoes should be super-soft after cooking, mixing time will be less than 2 minutes.
Please excuse my son’s shadow on this photo … he was hovering … because he was hungry … and was waiting for his stew … on a hot summer’s evening in August!