Hello, sports fans. What could be a better way to stave off today’s blustery winds, frigid temperatures and icy walkways than by watching a red-blooded, All American Football Classic? Why, doing so as you enjoy a steaming bowl of genuine Guinness Beef Stew. This hearty and nutritious meal is the focus of my column, and I will provide you simple, expert instructions on how to prepare, present and consume this tasty dish in no time flat. All that is needed are some common ingredients found at your local grocer and liquor emporium, a working stove (preferably inside your home) and a pot without leaks (not from the bathroom).
The history of Guinness Beef Stew in America goes back to at least 1983 when it was first brought to our shores by Bono during U2’s inaugural tour that began in a city where the streets had no name. Here’s his secret list of ingredients:
1. One pound or so of well-aged stew beef. If yours is not well aged, leaving it on the bathroom vanity overnight will do.
2. One – two cups of genuine Guinness Draft. I prefer the 14.9 ounce can, that way you can sip along during the preparation. Have several cans available for back-up. What? Your brother slurped up all of your Guinness the last time he was over and spent the afternoon spouting right-wing political diatribes from your favorite chair. No worries. You can find a suitable substitute with Murphy’s Irish Stout.
3. Two cups of baby carrots.
4. Three-four good sized potato(e)s.
5. Three stalks of fresh celery or four stalks of wilted celery.
6. One small can of peas. I recommend Market Basket Small Early Peas, at five cans for three dollars. The sooner the better.
7. One-third cup of flour.
8. Pepper, lots and lots of pepper.
9. Cheap, gluten-free stew seasoning.
10. A jar of Button Mushrooms.
11. A dull knife to slice, dice and cube the above.
12. One old argyle or smart-wool sock. Avoid athletic socks as we all know that “cotton kills.” Especially in winter.
My wife tells me that good cooks gather all of the ingredients beforehand, so if you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, we’ll wait a minute until you catch up…………Still waiting………..Hello!…………..Today, huh??????…………..Okay, with or without you, we have to move on. Prepare the meat by cutting into reasonably sized pieces to avoid obstructed airways. Place in a pie dish and marinate with one cup of Guinness. Drink the rest of the Guinness. Allow sufficient time for the meat to be well-saturated by the stout, a good three hours is recommended. That way you can have another can or two and also become well-saturated.
With the dull knife, peel and dice the potato(e)s, chop the celery, and halve the carrots if they are larger than bite-size. The idea is to get all of the ingredients into a uniform attitude for ease in consumption. Open the can of peas. Good job. Now examine your hands and fingers. Wrap the sock around all gaping, bleeding wounds and apply direct pressure for 10 minutes. Drink another Guinness.
After the meat is marinated and your wounds have clotted sufficiently, dust the meat with flour, and then drop the coated chunks into your pot which you have already smeared with a healthy coating of Olivio. The sock comes in handy for this. Okay, now brown the meat and then pour in the remaining stout from the marinade dish…if you haven’t already drank that too. Add common tap water from the sink, no yuppie Evian, dump in the chopped vegetables, and bring it all to a boil.
Here comes the fun part………..
As you watch your stew vigorously agitate, add a teaspoon or two of the gluten-free seasoning. This should darken your stew to a nice, muddy brown. Now it’s time to be creative and add your favorite spices. The old standby of salt and pepper just doesn’t shake it anymore, so I recommend adding a healthy dose of parsley flakes, a touch of curry powder, a good sprinkle or three of white pepper, red pepper and black pepper, a Gas-X and two Alka-Seltzer tablets. Turn the heat down and allow all of this to simmer until the meat, vegetables and sock are tender. About 3-4 hours.
Allow me to offer an additional observation here on “right seasoning.” Many of us have been blessed with marrying into families of non-Irish cultural heritage and tradition. This is okay in most domains of life, but carries with it certain risks and responsibilities. Like garlic, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary and thyme (sorry). If your spouse is of either Italian or Greek heritage, don’t be surprised if some of these spices and flavorings are surreptitiously added to your stew when you aren’t looking (possibly napping after drinking too much Guinness). Worry not. Experience has taught me that the addition of any or all of the above has little effect on the flavor of the final product – provided that you continue to surreptitiously add more and more Guinness.
If your spouse is of Celtic heritage, disregard the above. He / she will forgo foreign spices and only contribute additional Guinness to your creation. Now sit back, stirring only occasionally, and watch the magic happen.
Have someone who knows what they’re doing prepare a delicious green salad. Serve the piping hot stew in bowls with the salad on the side and possibly some Parker Rolls from the local grocer. A nice way to enjoy it all is to set your food on TV tray tables-in front of the TV of course. Turn on the tube- how archaic, everyone has a flat screen now, and tune in the big game. Hopefully, Tom’s balls are inflated sufficiently to overcome Payton’s human growth hormones. If not, a Beautiful Day could become- Sunday, Bloody Sunday.