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ERIN SULLEY: Goodness Guinness!

Too bad The Telegram doesn’t have a scratch and sniff ability because this Guinness stew is the bomb. – Paul Pickett photo
Too bad The Telegram doesn’t have a scratch and sniff ability because this Guinness stew is the bomb. – Paul Pickett photo - Contributed

There’s nothing more satisfying on a cold day than a hearty bowl of flavourful stew. Newfoundland and Labrador has the type of cold that gets right down to the bones. Stew is always the best prescription to get you back in tiptop shape.

“The only thing I like better than talking about food is eating.” – John Walters

If you’re going to make a stew the right way, you may as well book off an afternoon on a Sunday. It’s one of those recipes I like to make while puttering around the house. It gives you that homey feeling on a lazy Sunday afternoon while you prep for the week ahead. Plus, it brings an amazing aroma to the house.

The bonus of having a small veggie garden is the ability to shop just outside the front door.
The bonus of having a small veggie garden is the ability to shop just outside the front door.

Stew is probably one of the oldest recipes around. I mean old as in back centuries, as in ancient old. Stew has been a staple in most homes over the years, certainly, as it’s an easy and affordable recipe. Makes sense when you think about the contents — basic ingredients like potatoes, beef, carrots and onions.

Honest question, do you know the difference between soup and stew? As I was writing this column this question came to my mind. Why? Because I think it’s easy to get it mixed up.

If you don’t like to drink Guinness, don’t be appose to cooking with it. Delicious!
If you don’t like to drink Guinness, don’t be appose to cooking with it. Delicious!

“For many people, food is a source of comfort, connection, and control.” – Tony Robbins

They’re quite similar when you think about it. The part that separates them is the thickness of the broth. Although equally tasty, the broth of soup is thinner, whereas a stew is thick. Another difference is the meat. Most stews contain stewing meat that you sear first and add just enough liquid in the pot to allow the meat of your choice to simmer for a few hours until you get that fall apart tenderness you desire. Oh, I can just taste it now — yum. There’s nothing worse that chewy meat in a stew — yuck. The meat is best when it is as tender as the vegetables. Wouldn’t you agree?

One of my favourite stew recipes is a Guinness stew. Have you used Guinness in your stew before? Yup, I’m talking about the beer. I can’t stand Guinness – so gross. Wait, I should clarify. I would never, ever drink a Guinness beer but using it to cook is an entirely different thing. The maltiness of the beer really gives the stew an amazingly, rich and deep flavour.

“Roses are red, bacon is red, poems are hard. Bacon.” – Unknown

If that didn’t sell you – bacon might. Cut up a package of bacon into tiny bits (lardons) and fry it in the pot until crispy. Then, sear your meat cubes. Be sure you don’t crowd the pot as you want them to brown. Set aside with the bacon bits. Once that’s done, you’ll want to scrap the bottom of the pot to get the brown tasty bits off before you put the veggies in. Fry up the veggies in the pot with the spices before adding the liquids. These steps are sure to create a stew you’ll want to make time and time again. Another step to making a full flavoured stew is cooking everything in the same pot to let the essence of the ingredients blend together.

Perfection! Hearty chunks of veg and tender meat sitting atop a flavourful broth.
Perfection! Hearty chunks of veg and tender meat sitting atop a flavourful broth.

“Ways to my heart: 1. Buy me food. 2. Make me food. 3. Be food.” – Unknown

What did I put in my stew? Beef chunks, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, zucchini, thyme, bacon, flour, Guinness beer, beef stock, tomato paste, bay leaves and cornstarch.
Although this recipe didn’t call for potatoes, I added a few chunks to my bowl after the fact. I made hem in a separate pot. That’s because I typically don’t use potatoes if I plan to freeze the stew in individual containers for a later date. I find they get soggy and gross when you defrost and reheat.

Dear mother of pearl.

Between the Guinness and the bacon you’ll end up going for seconds and even thirds. This stew is great when served with buttered homemade bread, mashed potato, or even cauliflower.

Stop stewing over it and just make it. Guinness beef stew is definite fit to eat. Did I mention it has bacon?  

Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl. Email erinmsulley@gmail.comTwitter: @ErinSulley Instagram: @erinsulley


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