A few years ago, I was out for drinks with some friends at an Irish restaurant and we were starving. It was after midnight and the kitchen was closed, but the bartender said he could still serve their Irish beef stew. I had never had Irish stew before, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was the most delicious stew I had ever tasted, and the big bowl – complete with creamy mashed potatoes – was gone in less than 5 minutes.
Last year, Marc and I went to Dublin for the Christmas break and Irish stew was the only thing I wanted to eat. Sadly, I was disappointed with the few times I had it on the trip. Maybe it was because we chose the wrong restaurants, but nothing tasted as good as what I had at home. The trip itself was amazing though. The city was beautiful and full of Christmas spirit.
We went back to Ireland with my parents later that year to check out the rest of the country and see the city where my grandfather was born. We even ended up meeting some distant relatives, which was pretty cool. This time, I avoided ordering the stew though. Instead I had the best bucket of mussels in the world… okay, maybe they weren’t the best mussels in the world, but they were to me and I definitely had more than one bucket of them.
After both trips, I came home determined to make the best Irish beef stew ever, and the secret ingredient turned out to be parsnips! It gives it the unique flavor and makes the sauce thick and creamy – perfect for spooning over a heaping helping of mashed potatoes.
Irish Beef Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound beef stew meat
- 4 large carrots, peeled & chopped
- 1 parsnip, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 3/4 - 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 5-6 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons milk
- Brown the meat over medium-high heat in olive oil.
- Add garlic, onion, carrots, parsnip and spices.
- Cook for 5 minutes before adding beef broth.
- Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for at least 2 hours.
- After about 1 1/2 hours, make mashed potatoes.
- Boil potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes or until fork tender.
- Strain potatoes and mash with the butter and milk.
- Mix the melted butter and flour together to make a roux.
- Add the roux, peas and salt & pepper to the stew.
- Raise heat to medium-high and continue to cook for ten more minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf.
- Serve the stew over the mashed potatoes.
Recipe adapted from Lauren’s Latest.
Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out some of my other Irish inspired posts: