Irish Beef Stew

So, when I decided to make Irish Stew I honestly wondered what was different about this as compared to my previous beef stew. 

But I didn't really think too much about it. I had beef stew to make and a long walk to take by the harbor. Must get to work. 

I'm of Irish heritage and perhaps it's a bit embarrassing that I don't know much more about the cuisine of Ireland. I have been to Ireland a few times and pretty sure that what I ate was not indicative of traditional cuisine. I vividly remember crackers, scones, and a phenomenal grilled cheese.

What I feel like I know about Irish food is there are potatoes and there was a famine.  So, when I saw that this stew called for a bunch of them I felt like I was being authentic. Crisis averted. I also figured that the broth would be a bit thinner due to the famine. But, this is 2013 and I was going to use a slow cooker ... so who knew how this was going to end up.
Well, there are a lot of potatoes. I'd almost say too many potatoes. If you make this, just trade some potatoes for some carrots and you'll be just fine. Because of the long cooking process and the thyme, the carrots are super tasty and you will wish you had more of them.

End result? The flavor of this soup is pretty great despite the heavy potato. It was a solid effort in honor of the Irish Revolution theme for this week's Downton Abbey episode. I'm sure Branson would be thrilled since he's being such a dummy about the whole class warfare thing. Silly Branson. Take care of your pregnant wife and stay out of jail. Okay?

Here's how this goes.

(Step 1) Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.

(Step 2) Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. (Tip: Use paper towels to dry the beef. This will ensure you are browning the beef. This seems silly... but why skip it? Try not to)
(Step 3) Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

(Step 4) Add beef stock, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Note: I added all but the stock to the skillet. I added the beef stock to the crockpot.
(Step 5) Transfer the skillet business to the crockpot. Set the heat to high and cover to get the temperature up. 

(Step 6) Meanwhile, melt the butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
(Step 7) After the meat has simmered for 1 hour, add vegetables to beef stew.

(Step 8) On the Stove? Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. In the crockpot? Simmer on high for 3 hours or low for 7 hours. But, let's be real... the longer it cooks the better it will be. 
(Step 9) Ready to eat? Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle the bowls with parsley. 

Adapted from this recipe

Shopping List
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large garlic cloves, minced
8 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. (1/4 stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to season

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