Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Irish Stew & Mac N Cheese!

Oh St. Patrick’s Day. There once was a time, in the very recent past where I would celebrate this holiday by buying a skimpy green outfit or shirt, looking up cheap drink specials, and meeting about 30 of my closest friends for a night of drunken debauchery and hoping I do not consume so much terrible, watered down $2 light beer that I am too sick to participate in society for at least another 24-48 hours. Now that I am a more responsible person (and a parent) I am more likely to enjoy a pint once the baby is asleep and cook some kind of traditional Irish meal…. How times have changed! I am not even wearing green!!!

So if you are growing up like I am or just want some tasty post-celebratory tasty Irish food to nosh on, then try out my Guinness Irish Beef Stew recipe. While living in London many pubs. British as well as Irish themed seemed to have their own version of an Irish stew. Some would call if Steak and Ale Stew or Guinness Stew. Either way, here is my variation of what we were able to enjoy while over there.

Guinness Irish Beef Stew

2 TBS Olive Oil

1.5 Pounds Beef Chuck Cut in 1 inch Pieces



3 Cloves Garlic Chopped
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
3 Cups Beef Stock
2 TBS Thyme
4 Large Carrots Peeled and Sliced Into ¼ Inch Pieces
½ Large Onion
1 Large Rutabaga
1 Large Parsnip
6-8 Small Potatoes Skin-On
1 15.5 Oz Can Guinness or Other Stout

Heat Olive Oil in large pot on the stove and brown beef on all sides. No more than 8 minutes. Add Garlic and Tomato Paste until incorporated. Add Beef to large oven pot OR Crock Pot. Now boil the beef stock and beer for 5 minutes. Add all liquid to large pot with the beef. Sauté vegetables for 8-10 minutes to soften and brighten to a bright golden color and add vegetables to the large pot. Cover and simmer for about 2 more hours.

Irish Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Mikes grandmother has a few secret weapons in her cooking arsenal that she has graciously and sometimes reluctantly passed down to the younger generations. One of her most beloved recipes is her homemade “macky and cheese”. Since St. Patricks day is upon us I decided to do my own Irish take on her glorious recipe.  I mean, who can possibly complain about a perfectly cooked noodle covered in REAL cheese and baked to a crispy perfection?! Move over Kraft and make room for some real. Honest mac & cheese that you will want to make again and again.

3 Cups Dry Elbow Macaroni Noodles

2 Cups cubed Irish and/or British Cheddar *I chose to do half of each for the sake of color

4 Oz Sour Cream

1 TBS Butter

Boil macaroni noodles until al-dente, about 7 minutes. While the noodles are cooking,  chop cheese and save a small amount to be grated over the top of the entire dish. Mix cheese cubes into drained hot noodles until cheese is melted, add sour cream, combine all into glass baking dish. Add grated cheese to the top of the noodles. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until top starts to bubble and edges are crispy and golden brown.

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