St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner and it is time to plan our traditional family meal; Irish Stew. My husband is half Irish, so I honor his heritage and make this meal on St. Patrick’s Day. It is also a perfect meal to prepare anytime during the winter because it warms you up on a cold winter day.
I often wonder if the stew I make is authentic. This past January I discovered that my fears are unfounded because I ate several types of stew in Dublin, Ireland and they tasted similar to the one I make. Whew! I feel it is the tarragon that gives it a distinctive taste. The Hairy Lemon Pub had the best Irish Stew. It was served with brown bread which is a dense, slightly sweet bread and is a nice accompaniment to the stew. The creamy Irish butter was perfect with the brown bread.
A few notes about the ingredients in the recipe. Tarragon is not one of my favorite spices, however, it is what makes this stew special. If you are not a fan like me, add a half of one teaspoon at a time to your taste. But do not leave it out of the stew. Many recipes call for lamb, but I have found that this one with beef is excellent. You can make it with all lamb or a combination of lamb and beef.
To serve the stew, top it with puff pastry Shamrocks. I use store-bought puff pastry and cut shamrocks from the dough and then bake them. My boys love the flaky texture of the Shamrocks. They look so cute on top of the stew when you serve them, and they are the perfect finishing touch especially on St. Patrick’s Day.
Sweeney Family Irish Stew
- 2 pounds beef sirloin, boneless, lean cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 3/4 cup onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup stout beer
- 2 each bay leaves
- 8 ounces beef broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sliced (1/4 “) carrots
- 1/2 pound new potatoes, cut in 3/4″ cubes
- 1-2 tsp dried tarragon
- 2 tbsp flour, all purpose
- 4 tbsp water
- 1/2 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add cubed meat and brown meat on all sides. You might have to do this in two batches.
- Add the onion, garlic, beef, bay leaves, beef broth, salt, pepper, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover. Lower the heat so the mixture is simmering. Cook for about 30 minutes.
- Add carrots, potatoes, and tarragon. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
- Combine the flour and 4 tablespoons water. Stir the mixture until there are no lumps. Add the mixture slowly to the stew stirring constantly.
- Cook for about 5 minutes until the stew is thick.
Shamrock Shaped Puff Pastry Tops
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Thaw the pastry dough according to the instructions on the package.
- Using a shamrock cookie cutter, cut out shamrocks and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. I used a 3″ cookie cutter but you can also use a 5″. If you do not have a shamrock cookie cutter, cut out other shapes or use a biscuit cutter and cut out circles.
- Bake about 5 minutes until lightly brown.
- Spoon stew into bowls and top with the shamrock puff pastry.