Ireland – Irish stew with Guinness and potatoes

Ireland – Irish stew with Guinness and potatoes

The Irish love their Guinness and their Irish stew – and for good reason!  There are few foods that combine as well as Guinness, carrots, potatoes, and meat.

If you are dying to get started, begin with this Guinness and mashed potato Irish stew recipe. Stick with me to hear a little about my visit and why I chose to master Guinness and mashed potato Irish stew.

My Irish experience

Ireland and I became friends as I returned to the real world after two years at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School (go Heels!). I spent much of the summer of 2006 tooling around Italy (which you already experienced with me via basil and sausage lasagna) and Greece.  It was a beautiful life with limited funding and an assurance that creditors would grow impatient in oh, say…  six months.

Ireland was the last stop on my European journey and I was entirely on my own.  As we get to know each other, you’ll learn that I really like traveling on my own. I spent a day touring Dublin (including the Guinness factory), a day touring just outside of Dublin, a night drinking with new Irish friends, and a day recovering from a nasty hangover (just being honest here).  Check out some of my favorite spots on he Taste Bud travels page.


Road-side stop on my tour out to Wicklow and Kings Cross

Why Guinness and mashed potato Irish stew?

On one of the days when I was tooling around Ireland, it was a bit chilly (odd for July).  I stopped into this café and enjoyed the most delicious Irish Stew known to man.  The potatoes were perfectly mushy at the bottom and the flavors warmed me up from the inside out.  Heaven on earth – I desperately wanted to re-create that feeling at home.

An Austin Irish experience

 I ended up cooking for three very athletic boys this night (that might have affected my serving count).  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take a photo of either the food or my guests, but you should see photos going forward.  Plus, Eric and Chris are regular diners around my house, so you’ll meet them later.  The other guest was my date, but since we’re not dating now, he might miss his blog fame.

Inspirational recipe and resources

I started my Irish Stew adventure with a recipe I found on Tastebook courtesy of Tamara Taylor.  Tastebook has a pretty cool option where you can create your own cookbook.  I feel a Christmas gift in the making, but lets keep that on the DL for now.

Tweaks and cautionary tales

The two biggest things you have to watch out for with Irish stew are not overcooking the meat and getting the spices right.  It’s not a particularly difficult recipe beyond those two things.  My tweaks:

  • Added milk to potatoes – very slowly
  • Spices – increased by about ⅓ overall – Guinness included
  • Onions – cook them to translucent BEFORE adding meat (about 6 mins)
  • Meat – Make sure to ask butcher for a tender piece of meat.  Marinate meat in Guinness and spices for several hours.  Drop meat into skillet at high heat until brown, then pull off of heat.   The meat will cook through in the oven.  I did not coat the meat in flour.

How to make Irish stew healthier

I vote you not mess with what the Irish mastered centuries ago, but if you insist, you could switch the beef stew for chicken (careful not to overcook), replace the flour with whole wheat flour, and (heaven forbid) limit the mashed potatoes.  Maybe you should make another dish instead – cutting back on this one is too depressing.


  • Learning Curve: mild
  • Pre-work: marinate beef
  • Vegetarian: no
  • Healthy: not particularly
  • Freezes well:  yes

Final recommended recipe

Guinness and mashed potato Irish Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A hearty dish to warm you up in the middle of winter. See above for tips on keeping the meat tender and using the right amount of spices.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Irish
Serves: 4 - 5
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Lb Beef Stew meat (tender) in cubes
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion Cut ¼ Inch round slices
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 1.5 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1.5 Tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp Flour (up this if you add more Guinness)
  • 1 Cup low sodium Beef Stock
  • 1 Cup Guinness Stout
  • 1.5 Tbsp Chopped Parsley
  • 1 Lb Carrots Sliced
  • ¾ cup milk (skim to lower calories). May use more to taste.
  • 3 Lb Potatoes
  1. Cut potatoes into 1 inch chunks, boiled till tender, add salt, pepper, butter and parsley, Mash / blend with a mixer. Slowly add milk to create creamy consistency. (can be done one day ahead)
  2. Marinate meat with Guinness, olive oil, and bay leaf for 2 - 3 hours.
  3. In large, oven-proof pan, heat oil and bay leaves until fragrant (1.5 mins)
  4. Add the sliced onion and cook on medium high until the onions are translucent. (6 mins max)
  5. Increase the temperature to high and brown the meat on both sides (only cook to brown)
  6. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic thyme, rosemary and flour; stir until smooth. Add the beef stock and stout.
  7. Simmer, stirring until the stew thickens a bit. Add the remaining ingredients and cover.
  8. Place the pot in a 275 degree oven for about 2 hours, stirring a couple of times. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve in wide bowls with a dollop of mashed potatoes in the middle.


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