Irish Inspired Stew

Ann posted a recipe she made from her book Hand’s Off Cooking yesterday, an entry in Amber’s Kerrygold Irish inspired challenge.  Joining in on the fun (and secretly thinking all that Kerrygold cheese and butter could be lots of fun to have in my fridge) I decided on shaking up the traditional Irish stew.

I started with borlotti, or cranberry beans soaked overnight.  The onions, celery and carrots were sautéed in butter.  While Irish stew doesn’t have to be filled with lamb, I couldn’t call it Irish if I didn’t throw in some Guinness so I deglazed the vegetables with stout and threw in extra for flavor.  I’m not a beer person but I’ve been known to tell people I especially like the espresso-like creamy top of Guinness.

Besides not adding meat, the other change was adding my own home made sauerkraut (don’t think uhg! non-sauerkraut fans).  The kraut added a marvelous zing without taking over.  That combined with the stout and a sprinkle of smoked sea salt resulted in a “oh, that’s good” groan from the hubby.

We dunked baguette rounds topped with melted Kerrygold blue cheese (I’m a huge blue cheese fan) into our stew filled bowls.  Happy and full bellies we had!

Irish Inspired Stew

(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

1 ¾ cups dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight

1 to 2 tablespoons butter (Kerrygold works great!)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 gloves garlic, minced

A splash of Guinness Stout, plus 1 cup

1 cup baby or fingerling potatoes, cut into ½-inch size pieces

4 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped, or 6 dried leaves crumbled

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped

2 cups sauerkraut

Kosher salt

Blue cheese slices, to melt on top of as many pieces of toasted baguette as desired

Place beans in a 4- to 5-quart sauce pan with 7 cups water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for about one hour or until beans are just tender.  Check beans half way to see if extra water is needed to keep them just covered.  Set aside when done.

Heat a stockpot or a 5- to 6-quart saucepan over medium heat and add butter to melt.  Toss in the onions, carrots and garlic and sauté until they just start to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add a splash of Guinness and stir the vegetables to coat.  Add the potatoes, cooked beans, 1 cup of Guinness, and 1 teaspoon salt.  You want the mixture to be covered by a 1/2-inch so add vegetable stock as necessary.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Remove half of the mixture and roughly puree in a blender or food processor, being careful with the hot mixture.  Stir this back into the pot then stir in the sauerkraut, taste and add additional salt as needed.

Serve with cheese melted on top of slices of baguette or your favorite bread.

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