Friday, April 11, 2014

Drunken Stew and Soda Bread Biscuits

I very rarely make beef stew, but I thought I would make something special for St. Patrick's Day this year. The stew I chose to make was called Drunken Irish Stew from Bakeaholic Mama. The house smelled awesome 15 min into making this day long stew, and continued to do so two days after I made it!

Since I don't make a lot of beef stew I don't know if it's the norm to add bacon and beer.  All  I know is that it made the soup smell and taste heavenly. 

Don't be like me and leave your wooden spoon to rest on the iron pot all day while the stew simmers.  I cracked my spoon in two places from all the heat and moisture.

There were only a few minor changes that I made to the recipe.  I used 1 1/2 lb beef stew meat instead of 2 lbs.  The stew seemed plenty meaty to me.  I also increased the barley from 3'4 cup to 1 cup.  I didn't have any fresh herbs so i just added dried rosemary, thyme, parsley and dill.  I also tossed in a few handfuls of frozen peas at the end for color.

About an hour before dinner I thought this stew would taste even better if I had some tasty bread to sop up all the soupy juicy bits.  Because it was St. Patrick's Day, what could be better than Soda bread?!  Unfortunately most soda bread takes 50 min to bake.  I didn't have that kind of time.  So I did a bit more research and came across a recipe over at laa loosh for Soda Bread that you bake in a muffin tin.  The cook time was only 20 min with a cool time of 5 min. Perfect! 

I was surprised how much the little mini loaves rose!  Higher than your average muffin.  The next time I make these I will score them like a traditional loaf of Irish soda bread.

Drunken Irish Stew adapted from Bakeaholic Mama
1.5  lbs beef stew meat
2 bottles of your favorite Irish Ale
6-8 c beef stock
4 large carrots peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1.5 lb red skin potatoes large chunks (about 1.5-2" cubed)
1 large yellow onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 herb bouquet (I just used spices to taste)
1/2 lb bacon chopped
1c Barley (I had quick cooking)
2 T tomato paste
1/2 cup of flour

In Dutch Oven fry bacon til crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.  Pat stew meat dry with paper towels. Then dredge through flour.Toss into Dutch Oven with left over bacon grease. Fry on med til it browned and is lightly crisp on outside.Remove meat from pan. Cook veggies and saute in drippings til onions start to caramelize (about 15 min).  Add 1 bottle ale, stir with wooden spoon to deglaze pan.  Add meat and bacon back into dutch oven. Pour second bottle of ale and 4 c stock into pan. Add garlic, tomato paste, and herbs. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to med low and simmer 3-4 hrs. Stir every 30 min . Add additional stock thickens too much while cooking. About 20 min before serving add barley. 5 min before serving, add peas.

Individual Irish Soda Bread from Laa Loosh
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c flour
1 c reduced fat buttermilk (I used powdered buttermilk and skim milk)
4 T butter, melted
1 egg
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/3 c honey

Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray. In med bowl, whisk floors, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another sm bowl (I just used a large liquid measuring cup), whisk buttermilk, melted butter, egg and honey.  Gently combine wet and dry ingred, stirring just til combined.  Scoop batter into tins with large cookie scoop to get 12 "loaves".  Bake 20 min until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 min before cooling on wire rack.

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