"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Lucky Irish Stew

Happy St. Pat's to ye!

I toured the entire southern coast of Ireland when I was 23; my English friend Wendy and I drove her powder blue VW bug over on the ferry. We started in Dublin, went southwest all the way to Galway and then drove straight back to Dublin again. (Interesting fact: the pizza in Dublin was better than the pizza I had in Florence, Italy)

Ireland was a country that had fascinated me ever since I did a paper on James Connolly and the Easter uprising in high school, and it seemed fitting to get away and clear my head after my mother died. She loved to travel and knew I had been planning the trip before she'd gotten really sick; I remember she encouraged me to go "no matter what." So I did, and Ireland was everything I wanted it to be: friendly, green and beautiful, with ruined castles around every hairpin corner and live music in every pub.

My favourite places were Doolin (where I learned to smoke Marlborough Lights and flirt with backpackers). Little more than a crossroads with three pubs, it's famous for its ability to attract musicians and they play until the wee hours every night. I also loved Dingle, which took my breath away with its coastal scenery.

Another thing I remember was seeing little Catholic shrines along the road at various intervals - statues of Mary smothered in flowers seemed to nod at us as Wendy drove her beloved beetle at top speed around the winding roads. (Insert a sigh here as I recall these pleasant times...)

Okay! Enough of McMemory Lane. Whether you've got Irish blood in your veins (I don't) or just like to celebrate St. Patrick's day with green beer, here's a yummy Irish stew recipe to honour the day. Green food colouring not included.

Lucky Guinness Stew
- package stewing beef
- 3/4 cup flour, spiced with salt, pepper and whatever dry spices you prefer
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups beef or veggie broth
- 1 cup Guinness or other dark beer (Toast your health and drink the rest!)
- 1 bay leaf

1) Toss beef with spiced flour to coat.
2) In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, lightly brown the beef in the olive oil.
3) Add the onion & celery; cook 3 minutes.
4) Add the carrots, garlic, broth, beer and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
5) Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until beef is tender.

You can serve this over broad egg noodles but I like to soak it up with a heel of crusty dark bread. You may be wondering why there are no potatoes in this so-called Irish stew: it's because I really don't like potatoes! (I told you, I'm not Irish)


Susan said...

Lucky! Ireland is another of those places I've always wanted to visit. Hopefully someday!

justin said...

I've yet to visit the country ~ I will do one day, on a family history trail as my mum's mum was half-Irish. My mum used to come out with Irish phrases from time to time ~ phrases she'd heard her mother use ~ such as leading "the life of Riley". I presume Riley was blessed with good looks and a fortune, like me.

Kimber said...

Justin, sounds more like a bit o' blarney than riley to me...