Beef Irish Stew Recipe

What, exactly, makes an Irish stew Irish, and what differentiates it from your basic beef stew? Well, traditionally Irish stew is made from mutton, which isn't something you typically find in the grocery store. It can be made from lamb, as well, and recipe developer Hayley MacLean believes that goat, too, may sometimes be used. She does say, however, that "beef is often being used in place of its gamier counterpart[s] due to its wide availability and milder flavor." And in this American-style version of Irish stew, beef is what she uses. She also adds an Irish stout beer to her stew to give it an additional dose of traditional Irish flavor.

MacLean describes this stew as "rich and hearty," saying "It is full of the robust flavors of beef [and] vegetables." This stew certainly makes for a great St. Patrick's Day meal for anyone not fond of corned beef and boiled cabbage, but it also makes a great go-to stew recipe for all the cold-weather months.

Gather the ingredients for Irish stew

While this stew isn't too difficult to make, there's a fairly long list of ingredients. You'll need stew beef, though you can substitute lamb, if you prefer. The vegetables you'll need are a yellow onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots, and celery, while you'll use bay leaves and thyme to season the stew. Other ingredients include butter, flour, olive oil, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beer — stout is the preference (Irish or otherwise).

Season and brown the beef

Mix the flour with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a sealable freezer bag, then add the beef chunks. Shake the bag until the beef is coated with flour.

Heat the olive oil in a stew pot over medium heat, then brown the beef on all sides. If the pan gets too dry, add a little more oil. You'll need to brown the beef in batches to avoid crowding the pan. As each batch browns, remove it from the pan and set it aside.

Sauté the onions and garlic

Melt the butter in the pan, then add the onions and sauté them until they are soft, something that should take about 4 minutes. At this point, add the garlic and cook it until it smells nice and garlicky, but has yet to brown, about 1 minute. Pour the beer into the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.

Simmer the stew

Add the beef back into the pan along with the bay leaves, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Stir everything up, then bring the stew to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, put a lid on the pot and cook the stew for about 90 minutes. Every so often, take the lid off and give the stew a stir to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.

Add veggies, then simmer some more

Add the carrots, celery, and thyme to the stew, stir, then re-cover the pan. Simmer for about 45 more minutes — the stew is done when the beef is tender and all the vegetables are soft. If at any point your stew becomes too thick, add more liquid, either beef broth or water. Beer could also work if you want a deeper flavor.

While MacLean tells us that the flour used to coat the beef before browning should adequately thicken the stew, she does say "If you find that it is too thin for your liking, a cornstarch slurry can be used." Another way to thicken the stew would be to mash up some of the potato chunks.

Serve the stew

Once the stew is done cooking, take out the bay leaves and thyme. MacLean suggests serving it garnished with chopped fresh parsley, and says it's also "delicious served with a side of traditional Irish colcannon," a dish made from mashed potatoes and kale. She also suggests that a sliced bread (soda bread, if you want to carry out the Irish theme) will help soak up the broth.

Beef Irish Stew Recipe
5 from 39 ratings
When you're looking for a hearty meal to serve in the cold winter months (or for St. Patrick's Day), try this tasty beef Irish stew recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of beef stew
Total time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 pounds beef stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds small yellow potatoes, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  1. Combine the flour with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a Ziploc bag.
  2. Add the stew meat to the bag and shake to coat the pieces with the flour mixture.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy stockpot over medium heat.
  4. Brown the beef on all sides, working in batches and adding oil, as needed.
  5. Set the beef aside when browned.
  6. Add the butter and onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic to the onions and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the beer to the onions and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
  9. Add the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, potatoes, bay leaves, and browned beef to the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  10. Cover the pan and simmer the stew on low for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add the carrots, celery, and thyme to the stew.
  12. Cover the pan and continue to simmer the stew for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the beef is tender, adding extra liquid, if necessary.
  13. Remove the bay leaves and thyme and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  14. Serve garnished with fresh parsley, if desired.
Calories per Serving 597
Total Fat 18.0 g
Saturated Fat 6.5 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 148.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 50.0 g
Dietary Fiber 6.0 g
Total Sugars 6.4 g
Sodium 1,046.3 mg
Protein 58.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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