Smartmouth Brewing just released its very first Dry Irish Stout. The special St. Patrick’s Day brew was great to drink, and I knew it would be fun to incorporate into a cooking project, so I grabbed a two-pint and brought some home for the kitchen.
My original plan was to make my favorite shepherd’s pie, but it’s been a while and I misplaced my OMG FAV A+++ WILL MAKE AGAIN recipe. So I hit google, found nine billion shepherd’s pie recipes and… well… ain’t nobody got time for that. Therefore, I did what every other heterosexual grown-ass adult man does and opened up my “Food To Make” Pinterest board, picked a beef stew I saved last year, and got to work.
Guinness beef stew with cheddar herb dumplings that I made with Smartmouth’s Gandy Dancer Dry Irish Stout.
What the hell is a Gandy Dancer? (Other than my nickname in high school?) “Gandy Dancer,” is a slang term for the blue-collar workers who built and maintained railroads before modern machinery was available. Smartmouth has close ties to the Norfolk Southern Railway and names most of their projects after railroad terms. Now you know!
For the beer fans interested in the stout’s specs, here’s a description I pulled from one of Smartmouth’s emails:
Irish jargon is as hearty as its stout. So we dubbed this brew Gandy Dancer, a tribute to the rail laborers that keep our community in motion. With ingredients sourced from the motherland, it’s as authentic as you can get this side of the pond. (The ingredients were imported through the Malting Company of Ireland and contain 100% Irish Malt, an Irish yeast strain, and UK Pilgrim Hops.) A thick caramel head crowns a silky black body, full of heavily roasted barley and husky malts. Acidulated malts lend a tinge of tang that cavorts on the tongue. Feel free to have a few, the ABV is only 3.8% and IBU is 41.
Here are some additional pictures:
This stew is straightforward and not terribly difficult, and it fills the house with a wonderful, warm aroma. Some people are quite picky about the texture of their vegetables, so depending on your personal preferences, you may always adjust the timing of when you toss things in. For instance, adding carrots with the onion will make them softer, whereas waiting to add them with the parsnips will keep them firm. Stews are forgiving. Do what makes you happy.
Here’s the recipe:
Irish Stout Beef Stew with Cheddar Herb Dumplings Recipe
Ingredients (for the stew)
- Beef chunks: 2 lbs
- Onion: 1, finely chopped
- Celery: 1 stick, chopped
- Carrots: 2, peeled and chopped
- Garlic: 2 cloves, thinly sliced
- Turnips: 2, peeled and diced
- Parsnips: 2, diced
- Tomato Paste: 4 oz
- Dry Irish Stout: 12 oz
- Chicken Broth: 4 cups
- Worcestershire Sauce: 2 tbsp
- Bay Leaf: 1
- Thyme: 3 sprigs
- Cremini Mushrooms: 1/2 lb, sliced
Ingredients (for the dumplings)
- Self-rising Flour: 1.5 cups
- Garlic Powder: 1/2 tsp
- Shortening: 1/4 cup
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: 1/2 cup
- Milk: 1/2 cup
- Parsley: 1-2 tbsp, chopped
- Thyme: 1-2 tbsp, chopped
- Add a thin layer of oil to a heavy pot or dutch oven and warm on medium-high heat until shimmery.
- Add your beef to the pot and sear on all sides. Work in batches if necessary. Once browned, remove the beef and set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until softened and fragrant. (Add some oil if the mixture gets too dry.)
- Add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, then stir in tomato paste, stout beer and Worcestershire sauce.
- Once it reaches a simmer, add the beef back to the pot and add the chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme.
- Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low/med-low, and simmer for 90 minutes.
- Add parsnips and turnips, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove the thyme and bay leaf, then add mushrooms. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the self-rising flour and garlic powder. Cut in the shortening until the mixture consists of crumbs smaller than the size of a pea. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Finally, add milk to moisten the mixture. Don’t overdo it with the milk — you’re looking for a dough-like consistency, not a soup, so add a little at a time. (You might not use all of it or you might need to add more if it’s too dry.)
- Make 5-7 balls out of your dumplings dough and lightly add them to the top of the stew. They will expand as they steam, so don’t crowd it. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes, or until dumplings are firm.
- Lightly garnish the stew and dumplings with chopped parsley and thyme and serve.