I forgot it was St. Patrick's Day today or I would have been better prepared. I was a little sleep-deprived: I was on calls with colleagues in India until 2:30 am EDT, Pug was having sleep issues in between calls, and I only managed sleep between 4:30 and 7:30, when 12 week old Hoss woke, ready to play. Then, it was time for the day job.
It's probably a good thing I don't need much sleep. It's probably also a good thing that my sense of humor isn't tied to adequate shut eye.
Hubby called me at 4:30 and said, "Did you get my voicemail?" No. What voicemail? "I left you a voicemail at 9 o'clock this morning! It's St. Patrick's Day!" Yes. I remembered when I was at the grocery store an hour earlier and the clerk pinched me for not wearing green. Did she know how close she was to physical harm? Oh, and I'm making chicken for dinner. "But it's St. Patrick's Day!" Yes, and? "Listen to the voicemail." Click.
I dialled voicemail.
I kid you not, this is what Hubby had the temerity to leave as a message: "Woman of the house! Guinness stew tonight or be prepared for a beating!"
Moments like these, I'm convinced God has a sense of humor, or is a preservationist. How else to explain Hubby's lack of survival instinct? How else to explain the extra cuteness which saves him from certain death? He's watched "The Quiet Man" one too many times (Sean refers to his wife as "woman of the house" when ordering her to fetch him something in one notable scene; and in the scene where Sean drags Mary Kate back to their home, a local village woman helpfully offers him a stick with which to beat his recalcitrant wife. They don't make movies like this anymore.).
How on EARTH am I to make a beef and Guinness stew in less than 2 hours with another grocery run required? The trick, it appears, is to find beautifully marbled boneless chuck roast, cut the meat into relatively small pieces and pray hard. But surprisingly, everything came together in less than 90 minutes and the meat was decidedly tender.
Unlike last year's stew, I modified the recipe and decided not to discard the vegetables; having soaked in Guinness and beef stock for almost an hour, the leeks and mirepoix were incredibly flavorful and it seemed terrible to be wasteful so I simply added the sauteed bacon, mushrooms and shallots to the casserole. Once again accompanied by mashed potatoes (Pug asked for rice with his stew instead of potatoes, having never fallen in love with Mommy's preferred starch), a more than lovely stew. Of course, it would have been perfect had it been cold, rainy and misty outside instead of sunny and dry. Or maybe because it was so achingly gorgeous outside (and the stew so delectably steeped with Guinness and stock), I could laugh off Hubby's lunatic voicemail.
That's me: Woman of the House.
Beef and Guinness Stew
2 T olive oil
2 lbs stewing beef (such as rib steak or shoulder), cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups well reduced beef stock
2/3 cup Guinness
1/4 cup butter
3 oz fatty bacon, trimmed and diced
4 oz wild and cultivated mushrooms, quartered
2 oz shallots or small onions, left whole
1/4 cup plain flour
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in pan and brown the meat. Transfer to a casserole. Saute the vegetables for 5 minutes in a pan.
- Add vegetables to th meat and add garlic. Add stock and Guinness. Season. Cover the casserole and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
- Remove meat from the casserole and strain the cooking liquid, pressing on the vegetables. Reserve liquid. Discard the vegetables.
- Clean the casserole and saute the bacon, mushrooms and shallots or onions in the butter for 5-10 minutes. When the vegetables are tender, sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring over a low heat for 2-3 minutes. Slowly blend in the reserved cooking liquid. Return the meat to the casserole and reheat. Serve with mashed potatoes.
This year’s recipe diverged at step 3. Also, instead of 1/4 cup flour, I only used 3 T. Here’s what I did instead:
3. In a separate saucepan, saute the diced bacon on high heat. Once the bacon has begun to crisp up, add the mushrooms and shallots and saute for 5-10 minutes, or until tender.
4. Add the bacon/mushroom/shallot mixture to the casserole. Sprinkle the 3 T of flour over the mixture, stirring over low heat until the liquid thickens. Serve with mashed potatoes.