A hearty slow cooker Guinness beef stew recipe with tender pieces of corned beef and root vegetables infused with beer and blend of spices.
I can’t believe St. Patrick’s Day is almost here again! Last year I made baked honey mustard corned beef, but this year, I asked Jason how he wanted to celebrate his Irish heritage. He suggested I use booze and make a corned beef stew. Well alright then! I’ve been curious about trying a recipe with beer.
I was pleased that the alcohol makes traditional boiled corned beef a little more enticing because let’s face it. It’s not exactly my ideal type of meat. This slow cooker Guinness beef stew has layers of flavor while the meat and vegetables are incredibly tender. There is a nice richness to the stew liquid, so you don’t have to worry about dry, stringy and tasteless corned beef with this recipe!
How to make slow cooker corned beef
After testing a traditional slow cooker corned beef dinner recipe, I knew I had to create a dish that was even easier to prepare. This recipe is loaded with delicious root vegetables and a savory corned beef brisket. The trick is adding tons of flavor from browning the meat, adding herbs, and pickling spices.
There’s a delicate dance of balancing the slight bitterness from the Irish draught beer with concentrated tomato paste and sweet brown sugar. The low and slow cooking temperatures in the Crock-Pot allows the meat and vegetables to tenderize and infuse all of the wonderful flavors.
When you make the trip to pick out the essential ingredient in the stew (the Guinness of course), make sure to buy Draught beer and not the extra stout kind which tends to be more bitter. However, you can always add a little bit more brown sugar to rebalance the flavor if needed.
Did you know that this Guinness corned beef stew recipe can also be cooked on the stovetop? Yup, When I’m tight on time especially on the weekdays, I like to pre-cook the vegetables before adding them to the stew. I steam the potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash until fork tender.
This process takes roughly half the time or less versus cooking the vegetables directly in the stew. I like to simmer the pre-cooked vegetables in the liquid for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. This way I can still get tons of flavor from the vegetables while the potato breaks down a bit as I stir. This helps to add more thickness to the stew.
Grab a spoon and dig in! The hearty root vegetables have absorbed all of the savory-sweet flavors of the braising liquid, and the beef is incredibly tender. If you are looking for the perfect quick and easy side to this slow cooker Guinness beef stew, then try my Irish soda bread. What do you plan on making for this year’s St. Patrick’s day celebration?
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Selecting the right type of meat
Brisket or Chuck is always a great selection of beef because it has more fat and gelatin to keep the meat tender over time. More lean cuts of meat, like a tenderloin or a sirloin, dry out too quickly in a simmering stew. However, if cooked for a long duration of time in super-hot boiling liquid, the meat will become tough and dry regardless of the cut. The vegetables will also disintegrate and provide no texture to the stew. Using the low and slow method of a slow cooker allows the meat, vegetables, and seasonings to cook just right, and the flavors will have enough time to infuse into the other ingredients.
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Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew
- 2 pounds corned beef brisket, excess fat trimmed and meat cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups cubed meat)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups yellow onion, diced, ½” by ½” dice
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 cups unsalted beef stock
- 1 ½ cups beer, Guinness Draught
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon thyme, fresh, minced
- 1 packet pickling spices, (comes with corned beef- Optional)
- 6 tablespooons all-purpose flour
- 1 ear corn, cut off kernels (or 1/2 cup canned corn)
- 2 tablespoons parsley, fresh, minced
- Season corned beef with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Cook corned beef cubes and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes each side, 8 minutes total. Work in batches if needed, keeping the meat in a single layer in the pan.
- Transfer to slow cooker.
- In a medium-sized microwave dish, add onions, garlic, tomato paste and 1 tablespoon olive oil, stir to combine.
- Microwave for 5 minutes, stopping and stirring every two minutes. Onions should be tender.
- Transfer to slow cooker.
- Add the potatoes, carrot and butternut squash to the slow cooker.
- Add beef stock, Guinness beer, brown sugar, thyme and pickling spices in the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 7 hours on low. Potatoes should be fork-tender.
- In a medium-sized bowl combine 6 tablespoons flour with ¾ cups of the hot stew liquid, whisk to combine.
- Pour into slow cooker, stir to combine.
- Add the corn kernels.
- Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes. Stew liquid should thicken slightly. Stir and taste liquid, season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve corned beef stew and garnish with chopped parsley.
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