This beef stew develops plenty of deep, savory flavors from first searing the beef chunks, then pulling them out of the pot and sautéing bacon in the drippings. Onions are cooked down in the bacon fat, then simmered with Guinness before the meat is added back in with some carrots and cooked until tender. Serve the stew with steamed potatoes for a hearty meal.
1 pound steamed red potatoes, quartered (optional)
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Add half of the beef to the pan and sear until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate; set aside. Repeat with the remaining meat.
Add the bacon to the pan and cook until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the plate with the beef.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the butter and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes.
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until no longer raw-tasting, about 2 minutes. Pour in the Guinness and stir to incorporate the flour, breaking up any lumps and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture simmer until reduced by half.
Return the beef and bacon to the pan along with any accumulated juices and add the carrots and bouquet garni. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tightfitting lid, and simmer until the beef is tender, stirring halfway through, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef, onion, bacon, and carrots to a large bowl. Raise the heat to medium-high and gently boil the braising liquid, uncovered, until thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Return the beef, onion, bacon, and carrots to the pan and stir. If you choose, serve with steamed red potatoes.
Beverage pairing:Mount St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa. Beef and Cabernet: It just works. But even with a braise that includes a dark, toasty stout, you don’t want a syrupy, heavy wine; you want something with verve and acidity to enliven the palate. This inexpensive Napa red does the trick, trading in oakiness and jamminess for fresh, bright cassis and spice.