This Slow Cooker Irish Beef and Guinness Stew is deliciously warm and comforting with tender chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes swimming an a thick, rich broth.
Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew with Herb Butter
Irish Stew is typically made with lamb. But, in my neck of the woods (Denver, Colorado), good lamb is not always readily available.
When it is available, it's on the pricy side, and while I don't mind spending extra money on choice ingredients, the nature of a stew feels like it calls for ingredients that are simple, humble, economical.
So, this Irish Stew is made with chuck roast, with is both affordable and one of the most flavorful cuts of beef. The key with chuck roast is that it needs a long time to cook - another bonus when cooking stew for hours and hours in the slow cooker.
How to Make a Rich, Flavorful Broth for this Irish Stew
First of all, adding some Guinness to the broth of this stew is totally optional. You can just use all broth if you'd rather. But the beer does add quite a bit of complex flavor to the broth, so if you can add it, do.
You'll also notice that this stew starts on the stovetop before being allowed to simmer away all day in the slow cooker.
Browning the meat, onions, herbs, and spices before starting its slow simmer is a really important part of adding layer upon layer of flavor in this stew.
Sure, I guess you could just throw everything into the slow cooker at once and push the "on" button, and you'd still end up with something nutritious, edible and not terrible. BUT, please don't.
Browning the meat in hot oil caramelizes the natural sugars in the meat, giving it a nice brown crust. The crust helps the meat retain its shape while simmering for several hours, but that's not the most important part of browning meat.
The little brown bits and fat that get left behind in the pan after browning the meat are jam packed with flavor.
Cooking vegetables and herbs in that fat adds an additional layer of flavor so that when you add liquid (beer and broth), it all works together to create a gorgeously rich broth that transforms this stew from mediocre to crazy good.
Top Warm Bowls of Irish Stew with Herb Butter
I don't believe that topping bowls of Irish Stew with herb butter is traditional in the least. But, it sure is good.
It's also optional. The stew is perfectly wonderful without it. Herb butter is a classic case of gilding the lily, a thing that I am prone to do when the mood strikes, which it often does.
Making herb butter couldn't be easier - mix softened butter with herbs, salt and a dash of garlic powder.
The butter will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator. Serve it alongside this stew, letting each person dab on as much or as little as they like. It's just one more way to add even more flavor and richness to an already delicious meal.
A delicious and unusual alternative to herb butter is miso butter! Miso butter takes about 5 minutes to make and adds a complex, umami-rich layer of flavor to everything it touches.
More Popular Slow Cooker and Instant Pot Recipes:
- Tri-Tip Steak with Fennel and Coriander Gravy
- BBQ Beef, Rice, and Veggie Bowls
- Indian Butter Chicken
- Pork Cooker Carnitas
- Asian Short Ribs
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
- 2-3 lbs chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 leeks
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 5 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 14 ounces Guinness
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 32 ounces beef or chicken broth
- 4 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 16 ounces baby carrots
- 2 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 4-inch pieces
- 12 ounces frozen peas (optional)
Herb Butter (for serving):
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, diced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- dash of garlic powder
- Spread the pieces of meat out on a paper towel and use another paper towel to blot away excess moisture from the meat. Sprinkle the meat on all sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke. Add just enough of the meat to fit across the bottom of the pan without any of the pieces touching. Cook without moving the pieces until they are well browned, about 2-3 minutes. Use tongs to turn each piece until browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan and place it in a slow cooker. Continue to brown all of the meat.
- Turn the heat down to medium and return the saucepan to the heat. You should have about 1 tablespoon of oil left in the pan. (Add a bit more oil if you have less than that.) Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
- Using only the white and light green parts of the leeks, trim the ends, and chop the stalks in half. Slice each half into ½-inch pieces. Put the pieces in a colander set in the sink and rinse in cold water.
- When the onions are brown, add the leeks, tomato paste, garlic, and thyme to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes longer. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer.
- Slowly pour in the Guinness, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, mustard, and 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then pour the liquid over the meat in the slow cooker. Add the carrots and potatoes to the slow cooker, stirring gently to nestle the vegetables down into the liquid.
- Cook the stew on low heat for 8-10 hours or on high heat for 6 hours. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. A few minutes before serving, stir in the frozen peas (if using).
- Serve with extra grainy mustard and herb butter.
To Make the Herb Butter:
- Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g