Cèad mìle fàilte!* My love for Ireland was so strong that I even wanted to learn Gaelic. Looking back, I’ve realized that I’m a person who constantly needs to have a visceral passion for something that takes you to read, study, dream, commit… during my University years my deepest passion was Ireland.
I used to listen to U2, the Corrs, the Chieftains. I even listened to unknown Irish folk bands, as long as the music had that special verve that made you get up from the chair and start dancing! I used to read W. B. Yeats’ poems and many Irish writers such as Roddy Doyle, Nouala O’ Faolain, Joseph O’Connor, Frank McCourt, Cecilia Ahern… I still have a soft spot for Cecilia Ahern’s novels and right now I feel a urgency to read again Pete McCarthy’s McCarthy’s Bar. If you haven’t read it yet, go searching for it and be ready to laugh to tears!
* It means a hundred thousand welcomes, and this is the only expression I have ever learnt in Gaelic!
I dreamed of endless green meadows, shamrocks and Leprechauns. I wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands, Dublin and the Irish sky. In 2002 I could eventually live my dream, it was really like grabbing the only shamrock in a rugby field full of clovers!
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’ day, so I decided to celebrate my old passion for Ireland with my first stew. Talking about first times, this is the first time I used a pressure cooker and this is the first time I cooked something with beer… The result is so delicious I will definitely keep on experimenting, both with pressure cooker and beer!
- 1 red onion
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 heaping tbsp plain flour
- freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch Cayenne pepper
- 800 g diced beef
- 4 medium carrots
- 1 celery stalk
- 400 g potatoes
- 1 bay leave
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 thyme sprig
- 250 ml Guinness
- 500 ml light vegetable stock
Finely slice the onion. Saute the onion in the pressure cooker with some tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes, adding a dash of water to prevent the onion from browning too fast.
Meanwhile, rub the beef with the olive oil and mix the flour with a pinch of salt, some freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of Cayenne pepper. Flour the beef cubes and toss them to remove the excess of flour. Put the meat into the pressure cooker and add a drop of olive oil if needed. Brown all the sides of the beef cubes for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Pour into the pressure cooker 250 ml of Guinness and let it simmer and evaporate for about 5 minutes. Now add the sliced celery and carrots and the diced potatoes, 1 pinch of salt, the bay leave, the thyme and the rosemary. Pour into 500 ml of vegetable stock, stir and put the lid on the cooker and bring to pressure. Cook for 30 minutes from this moment, then remove from the heat and let it cool down.
When it is done, remove the lid and check the meat. If necessary, bring to the boil to reduce the meat juice, but for me it's perfect! Serve with some fresh thyme and a few slices of bread to clean the pot!
*You can cook this beef stew also in a cast iron pot: follow the recipe till the point when you add the broth, then let it simmer gently for at least 2 hours adding extra broth if necessary.
I’m happy to take part to The Daily Spud Paddy’s Day Food Parade with my recipe!