Part of my attempt to better organize our life and get control of our ever growing grocery bill involved meal planning and a master grocery list. I took a lot of hints from IHeart Organizing and Blissful and Domestic – although I only wish I could be as frugal as Danielle. Anyway- now I use my crock pot at least three times a week- it is by far the easiest way to get a healthy meal in to my family’s bellies, with minimum effort on my part!
A note about my recipes- I almost never follow a recipe I find 100%, remember when I said I’m constantly editing and augmenting? Well I’d say I’m pretty much incapable of leaving a recipe as is. And keeping track of what I do to it is a new concept to me. So I will attempt here to give you the recipe I used today- although it may not be the same one I use a month from now! Oh well- Happyness is as Happyness does!
So, here we go! Today was a snowy day- and by the afternoon it was gray and rainy, so an Irish Guinness Stew seemed like the perfect meal. This is by far one of the Hub’s favorite meals! He gets excited whenever Guinness ends up on the grocery list, both because it ends up in the stew and because he gets a cold one with the stew. As he puts it- what could be better than meat and beer? I prefer to do this stew with lamb, but unless its super on sale or a special occasion, then lamb is not usually in our grocery budget- so bargain stew beef it is
First cut three potatoes in to 1 inch cubes and toss ’em in. Then throw in a handful of carrots, half a chopped onion, and 3 minced cloves of garlic. Smother in seasonings of your choice (see what I mean?). Sometimes I just use salt and pepper, some thyme and maybe even a little cayenne. This time however, I was feeling lazy so I used about a tablespoon of the Grillmates hamburger spice that I had (I looove all the Grillmates blends the Montreal steak one is good for this too). Add in a tablespoon of Worcester sauce. Now throw in the beef- about 1.5 pounds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Next we add in a small carton of beef broth. I use College Inn bold stock- I’m just not a fan of that other stuff everyone uses. Throw in the whole 14 oz.
And now the good stuff- pop open a whole bottle of Guinness and pour in about 3/4 of the bottle (because the rest is for you to toast yourself on your Happyness!) I like the stout best, but all we had was the extra stout. It ends up being a bit bolder, but still fantastically good!
Here is the part where I open the pantry and freezer and see what else I can toss in. I decide on this can of corn. I drain out about half the water and toss in the crock pot. You could really do this with frozen peas (H would have a coronary), or canned green beans or whatever speaks to your culinary Happyness at the moment! Cook on low for 8 hours. In the last hour whisk together 3/4 cup of half and half (or whole milk or heavy cream) and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, stir in and let cook the last hour. Tonight I served it up with buttered cornbread.
Notes: If I had time, or felt like it, I would sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and then brown it in olive oil first. If I go this route then I saute the onions and garlic in the pan and then add the beef, brown for a minute or two, then add the Guinness until it cooks down a bit before adding it all to the crockpot. Today- as you may know- I was sleep deprived– so I didn’t feel like putting in that much effort.
You could substitute turnips for the potatoes, or rice, or skip them and serve the stew over mashed potatoes (I like to do this when I make it with lamb).
Lastly- I’ll post a more “formal” looking recipe later- right now it’s 10:30 and I need some quiet time with the Hubs 🙂 Happyness and love to all! ~M