This Guinness Irish stew is simple and full of flavor from stout beer, tender lamb, carrots and onions.
Cutesy holiday-themed recipes are not something I tend to gravitate to, but a holiday-themed stew? Sign me up. And a stew made with beer? Double sign me up, please.
And that’s what we have here today, a simple Irish stew made with Guinness stout, tender lamb, potatoes and carrots. It’s not complicated, it’s totally delicious and it’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any day you want a comforting bowl of savory goodness.
Irish Stew is Made with Lamb
Or mutton, if you’re a purist, but it’s not easy to find at mainstream grocery stores. So, go with the lamb.
The best cut of lamb for stew is the shoulder which is ideal for braises and stews. At regular grocery stores, you can usually find packages of lamb stew meat which is the shoulder already cut into chunks.
The other thing about traditional Irish stew is that it’s simple. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles – just a simple combination of meat, vegetables and water simmered together until the lamb is tender.
So, my version isn’t exactly authentic because I add stout beer which gives the stew a deeper flavor and because, you know, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. You need a little kitsch and adding some traditional Irish beer is a nice way to add an Americanized Irish spin on the whole thing.
Tips for Prepping the Lamb
- Make sure your pieces are cut to approximately 1″ in size. If you use the precut stew meat you most likely will need to cut them into smaller pieces. This way it all cooks evenly.
- Pat the meat dry before you sear it. Removing the excess moisture will make it a whole lot easier to get a nice sear on the meat when you brown it.
- Speaking of which, don’t skip the browning step. It not only gives the meat a nice browned color, but all of the browned bits left in the pan will give your stew even more flavor.
- To get the best sear, don’t overcrowd the pan and cook the meat in batches. Otherwise, it will steam and not get that gorgeous color.
Can You Use Beef?
Of course, if that’s what you prefer. But I think you might miss out. The lamb has a wonderful flavor and it’s really tender after only simmering for about an hour. Beef, on the other hand, will take longer.
If you decide to use beef, be sure to use a cut for stews like chuck round. You will also need to simmer it longer (up to two hours or longer) and you may need to increase the amount of liquid in the recipe to compensate.
Two Whole Bottles of Beer
You can use any kind of stout beer you like to drink for this lamb stew, but the rich flavors of Guinness is especially nice. The majority of the alcohol cooks off so all you’re left with is the flavor of the beer and a hint of maltiness.
The beer replaces stock that you might otherwise use to make a stew, so the two bottles (24 ounces) along with a couple of cups of water are all you need.
The rest of the flavors come from the onions, carrots, salt, and pepper. The potatoes help thicken the stew. As they cook, they release some of their starches so there’s no need to add any flour or other thickening agents.
Of course, I add a handful of chopped parsley at the end because it’s what I do. It also gives the dish a nice pop of freshness and color.
The leftover stew is delicious and I think it’s worth it to make a day in advance to allow time for all of the flavors to develop.
You can warm it up on the stove and, because it has a tendency to thicken up when it’s chilled, you can add a few splashes of water to thin it.
Serve it with some crusty bread on the side to soak up all the goodness. I hope you enjoy it! 🍀
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This simple Irish stew is made with tender lamb, carrots and potatoes that simmer in Guinness beer and water. As the stew simmers the flavors develop creating a rich and flavorful stew that tastes even better a day after it’s made.
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 24 ounces Guinness beer
- 1 pound carrots, cut into 1” coins
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Pat the lamb pieces dry with a paper towel and season them with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Place half of the lamb in the pot with space in between each piece. Brown on both sides and then remove them from the pan. Brown the other half in the pan and then remove them.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook it for a few mintues. As it cooks, it will release moisture which will make it easy to scrape up all the browned bits off the pan.
- Add the browned lamb back to the pan and pour the beer and water over the top. Stir and bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to maintain a strong simmer.
- Once simmering, add the carrots and potatoes. Bring the pot to a strong simmer again and cook the stew for 30 minutes.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the stew for another 10 minutes or until it has thickened to your liking. Add the black pepper, chopped parsley and serve.
If you prefer to use beef you will need to let the stew simmer longer (up to two hours). You may also need to add more water or beer.
If you make the stew ahead it may thicken up as it sits in the refridgerator. To warm it up, simmer it in a pot on the stove and add a few splashes of water (or more beer) to loosen it up.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Irish
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 435
- Sugar: 7.5g
- Sodium: 1047.4mg
- Fat: 9.8g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 3.6g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 34.1g
- Fiber: 6.2g
- Protein: 28.4g
- Cholesterol: 73.8mg
Keywords: lamb stew, Irish stew, Guinness stew