About twice a month, our resident Chef BigFatPanda puts together his amazing step-by-step, photo-filled posts where he and Chef Mickey show you their adventures in the kitchen cooking up Disney goodies! Today, Chef Big Fat Panda’s DIY Disney Recipes column brings us a hearty Fall favorite! Take it away, Chef!
Hello everyone out in Internetland! I hope this installment finds you doing well and feeling the weather changing. It’s getting a little nippy out there, so I felt it was a good time for something hearty! STEW!
This recipe is from Epcot’s UK Pavilion’s Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room. This “Guinness Stew,” if memory serves me correctly, was served at one of the past Food & Wine Festivals and can often be ordered in the Rose and Crown dining room. It is a very easy “one pot” recipe with surprising depth of flavor. I did find a few issues with it that I would like to amend, but ultimately it’s a winner!
As usual, the recipe’s instructions will be bolded for easy reference should you wish to print this out and skip my commentary. It’s just bad Karma to do that, and Halloween is coming up, so I wouldn’t.
You will need:
2 pounds sirloin cubes
1 ounce olive oil
1 dry bay leaf
8 ounces diced onions
4 ounces diced carrots
½ ounce chopped garlic
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
8 ounces Guinness stout
1 quart beef broth
I was happy to see my local grocery store had Guinness, and I am told most should. I opted for Extra Stout Guinness as I felt it might make the stew all the richer. All the ingredients were very easy to find except for fresh Thyme and Red Chili Flakes. I substituted with ground Thyme and Red Pepper Flakes. The red pepper flakes, in retrospect, were not my best alternative and I should have used chili powder instead. So, you live and you learn. Heaven knows I had chili powder left over from Uncle Walt’s Chili!
1. Sear sirloin cubes in a large stock pot in a small amount of olive oil, add the bay leaf.
This is fairly straightforward. Once you have your meat cut into cubes, give them a good sear. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to stir often in order to get to all pieces of the meat.
You want it browned, but not burned. The Bay Leaf should begin to smell nicely in your kitchen.
The recipe asks for Sirloin, which would likely be my choice, but can be quite expensive. If you get sticker shock from the price, look for Top Round, which also makes a great stew at about half the cost.
2. Once the meat has a good sear on it (browned), add the onions and carrots. Cook until the onions are translucent.
Four ounces of carrots did not seem like enough, so I threw in a few extra. I also did not agree with dicing carrots, so I sliced baby carrots. It’s my past experience making my Mom’s stew that makes me go for big chunky pieces of everything, so in order to keep to the recipe I had to fight the instinct.
3. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and chili flakes. Cook for one minute and add the Guinness.
It may not look very appetizing at this point, but it will get there. I promise.
4. Allow the Guinness to simmer for five minutes, then add the beef broth.
By the time you add the Beef Broth, everything should be covered in liquid. The smell should be getting everyone in the house hungry.
5. Simmer for 30 minutes. Liquid should reduce by at least 1/3.
6. Salt & Pepper to taste
And here is where I cry foul for a short moment. I make a mean stew using my slow cooker, and I cook it for no less than 5 hours, sometimes up to 7 hours.
30 minutes for a stew? Really?
I tasted it and did not feel 30 minutes was enough. Not just because I usually cook stew longer, but because the meat was not as tender as I wanted, nor were the vegetables at a consistency I felt comfortable serving. Even if I’d diced the carrots, they would still have been hard.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that before you can simmer for 30 minutes, you should bring the stew to a boil after adding the broth.
So, I let it simmer for 90 minutes. I thought it was great but needed to be thicker. There is a note accompanying this recipe that reads:
Cook’s note: To thicken stew if wanted, make a slurry of 1 ounce cornstarch and 2 ounces water and add to stew while at a simmer.
Can we all agree that the word “slurry” is very unappetizing? Sheesh!
I definitely recommend doing as they suggest by at least double to get some thickness into the broth. It still was nowhere as thick as my own stew, but I enjoyed what it was.
This is really hearty and tasty. The Guinness is definitely something I might actually add to my own stew in the future. I certainly missed my larger carrots and I really missed POTATOES! Oh Potatoes, where have you gone? So, I baked up some French Bread and dipped away.
This was so easy to make, and perfect as the weather begins to chill. It’s comforting. I like it.
Who said there is a Hidden Mickey in the pictures? Where?
I would love to hear your comments. You should see me refreshing the screen now just waiting for you to talk with me Once again, thank you for letting me into your kitchen and keep wishing on those stars! Big Hugs!
Thanks again, John! Remember, all, you can watch for Chef BigFatPanda’s column posts right here! Who knows what he’ll make for us next time!