Ireland or the “emerald isle” as it is known, is a country of beautiful medieval monasteries, impressive sea cliffs and native Celtic heritage. It is also the home of some of the best writers of English literature. The towns that dot the countryside are so picturesque and the scenery so beguiling that they evoke images from the books of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Ireland has Europe’s cleanest soil so it is not startling to find that the dairy, meat, bread and vegetables are of utmost quality. Irish lamb reared in lush grasslands is renowned for its succulence and taste. In the last 15 years Ireland has seen an impressive food renaissance and the industry has become surprisingly dynamic for a small country of 5 million people. The Irish are very fond of crispy meringues with berries and cream, lamb stew, smoked salmon, brown soda bread, apple cake and of course Guinness (a stout and one of Ireland’s most famous export) paired with plump oysters.

Beef and Guinness Stew

Beef, Guinness & Mushroom Stew

Serves 6

  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 1.5kg good quality beef for stew
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 450g onions, sliced
  • 500ml Guinness
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 250g mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g small button mushrooms, left whole
  • 50g plain flour
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cut the beef into 2” cubes and toss in seasoned flour. Heat a little oil in a heavy based frying pan and seal the meat on a high heat. Do this in batches. Transfer the meat to a heavy-based casserole and deglaze the pan with a mix of a little stock and Guinness.

Heat a little oil and add the onions in a frying pan until lightly golden and transfer to the casserole with the meat. Now cook the raw garlic in a little hot oil and add to the casserole and continue with the mushrooms – sauté in a little hot oil and add to the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, and with a tight fitting lid bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for 2 hours until meat is tender.

Serve with mashed potatoes studded with sliced green onions (champ).