Today is a big day in Boston. (And many other cities and countries.) Not just because of St. Patrick’s Day. It is also “Evacuation Day.” What? You have never heard of that one?! Well you are not alone. Until I started working and living in Boston I had no idea either.
Evacuation Day is holiday that commemorates the evacuation of British forces from the city of Boston following the Siege of Boston, early in the American Revolutionary War. Big stuff around here. Most importantly it falls on the same day as St. Patrick’s Day. Very convenient. So schools and government offices are closed. Also if March 17 falls on a weekend, than schools and government offices are closed on the following Monday or preceding Friday in observance. Also very convenient.
But I don’t mind. I think letting state workers have the day off to celebrate the kicking out of the British is as important as St. Patrick’s Day. Who knows, maybe that is what everybody is actually celebrating this morning in the streets of Boston at 8am. (Yes – they get started early around here!)
However my Irish husband would be very disappointed if I didn’t post an Irish recipe today. So here goes….
Irish Stout Beef Stew
1-2 lbs of lean stew beef or lamb cubed into 1″ or 2″ chunks
1 lb +/- of turnips peeled and cut into large chunks (2″ and up)
1 lb bag of carrots peeled and each long one cut in half to fit into pot. If really thick, cut the width once or twice.
2 large onions, peeled and sliced into thick slices.
1 can Guinness© Stout Beer (14.9 oz)
All purpose flour to coat meat
several tablespoons of vegetable oil for browning meat
plenty of salt and pepper
Coat the meat with a light dusting of flour, salt and pepper. Add the oil to the bottom of a LARGE heavy-bottom pot and heat till almost smoking. (Best to use a large cast iron enameled pot or dutch oven for this dish.) Add the coated beef and sear each side. Adjust heat as needed. Make sure you get a good sear and meat un-sticks itself before you turn pieces, but don’t let them burn either. Add onions just after final turn of meat pieces and turn heat down. The onions should get a little “quick fry” on them from the high heat of the meat searing. That is good. After the heat is lowered add all the other veggies to the meat and onions. Add the can of Guinness© to de-glaze the bottom and toss everything gently. Fill the can with water and add to the pot. Repeat until water level is just at the top of the meat and veggies. Adjust heat to keep contents at a simmer, cover. Check in 1 hour: taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Add more water if too dry. Cook 1 hour more and enjoy anytime after that as long as the turnips are soft enough.
Serve with buttered mashed potatoes and a little boiled cabbage if you like.
My husband is typical Irish guy who likes plain food. But if you wanted to boost the flavor of this dish, a bay leaf would do wonders and some garlic would be delicious too. A dash of malt vinegar might just brighten the pot.
Also: amounts don’t have to be exact – it is stew after all, so a little less or little more of anything won’t be a big deal.