Thursday, February 1, 2007

Hoolihan Irish Stew

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
21/2to 3 lb. chuck steak, cut into 2-in. cubes and trimmed
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, cubed
1 rib celery, cubed
6 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1/2c. beef or chicken stock
2 bottles good dark beer or stout
2 large bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4c. chopped fresh parsley
2 strips orange peel
2 large potatoes, peeled; 1 chopped, the other cut into 2-in. cubes
1 c. frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or flame-proof casserole, heat the oil over medium-high and brown the meat on all sides in batches until it is crusty brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the meat and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook until they begin to color and the onion becomes translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and beer, stirring up all the browned bits on the bottom, and return the meat to the pot. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, parsley, orange peel and the chopped potato and stir.

Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer the stew or set in a preheated 300-degree oven until the liquid thickens and reduces by about half, about 11/4to 11/2hours. Add the cubed potatoes and continue cooking until easily pierced with a fork and the meat is very tender, another 20 minutes. Stir in the peas and heat through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 6 to 8, but is easily doubled.

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