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St. Patrick ’s Day was this week, and for one day, everyone feels just a little Irish. Green beer and Guinness flows freely, but there are alternate ways of enjoying the distinctive Irish drink, besides drinking it.

Photo: Irish stout stew and biscuits

Using it in a stew adds a delicious full-bodied flavour to the meat and vegetables. Try it out with some of your leftover Guinness the day after St. Paddy’s Day, you’ll be delightfully surprised.

Beef and Irish Stout Stew

1 pound lean ground beef
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 large onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups Irish stout beer (e.g., Guinness)
¾ cup beef broth
2 cups chopped carrot
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme

 Heat the remaining oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown, adding the flour and spices. Add the onions, and garlic. Stir the tomato paste into a small amount of water to dilute; pour into the pan and stir to blend. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour 1/2 cup of the beer into the pan, and as it begins to boil, scrape any bits of food from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. This adds a lot of flavor to the broth. Pour in the rest of the beer, and add the carrots and thyme. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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