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Monday, April 4, 2011

Beef, Carrot, and Stout Casserole with Barley

Irish food has a reputation of being a conglomeration of boiled things. The fact that one of the more well-known items is "Boiled Breakfast"—an item lauded in songs like "Boil the Breakfast Early" by the Chieftains—doesn't help in the least to dispel this rumor; nor does the fact that Irish Stew is the one of most commonly prepared items from the Irish kitchen.

Beef Chuck is an excellent cut to make into stew; it's generally somewhat tough, and contains a great deal of connective tissue—this is what makes it a good candidate for long, slow, moist cooking. This method creates a tender, well-textured meat in a velvety stew.

Stew is a hearty dish, a belly-warming dish, something that can keep you going for a hard day's work, or a hard night's drinking. Served with colcannon, this stew is a consummately Irish meal.

Beef, Carrot and Stout Casserole with Barley 
4 lb. (1.8 kg) beef chuck roast, cut in 1" cubes
36 fl. oz (1 L) stout (or enough to cover the beef)
1/4 cup (60 ml) oil
3 large onions, julienne
4 lb. (1.8 kg) carrot, 1/2" rondelle
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 head celery, 1/2" slices

2 Tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste 
3 tbsp (45 ml) oil or clarified butter
3 tbsp (45 ml) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (177 ml) pearl barley, rinsed
beef stock as needed

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Soak beef in stout overnight, or for 6 hours minimum.

2. Drain and dry beef, reserve stout. Heat oil in large dutch oven. Sear beef in oil, set aside.

3. Sauté onions. When softened, add garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté until all vegetables begin to become tender. Add tomato paste, mix well, and cook until it takes on a slight rusty color. Add extra fat, heat, and add flour. Mix well, and cook 2-3 minutes. Deglaze with remaining stout. Return meat to pot, add barley, and add stock just to cover.

4. Cover, and simmer gently over low heat, or cook in 300°F oven for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender. During last 1/2 hour, check the liquid level in the stew; if it is too thin, remove the lid and cook uncovered to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste; finish with a cornstarch slurry if necessary.

Serves roughly 24.


  1. I like a good stew. And The Chieftains.

    I ran across this project, and thought you might be interested. http://thequeenscullery.com/category/cooking-with-mrs-beeton/

  2. Oooh... that looks fun. Mrs. Beeton is wonderful as a resource—as are many of the old books—and it's excellent fodder for my inner historian.


Your opinions and comments always are welcomed, but do be civil... this isn't a kitchen, after all.