Two Irish chefs share their recipes for beef stew and Irish soda bread

By Ana Calderone
March 11, 2015 02:27 PM
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Credit: Hector Sanchez

Instead of sticking to green foods and beer this St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate the luck of the Irish with some traditional—but easy—dishes.

Irish chef Clodagh McKenna’s beef stew with pearl barley is the perfect “Irish soul food” to share among friends and family and can be easily prepared ahead.

“You can pop it on the stove early in the day and let it simmer away while you enjoy watching the parade,” says McKenna of the recipe adapted from her new cookbook Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen.

But you can’t have stew without something to dip in it, of course. So the star of Create TV’s Back to Basics, chef Kevin Dundon, created a brown Irish soda bread made with Guinness just for PEOPLE.

“It has a firm and crusty exterior and a spongy center, which makes it nice and moist,” he says.

And while you’re collecting ingredients for these hearty dishes, might as well grab another six-pack of beer to top it all off with!

Clodagh McKenna’s Beef Stew with Pearl Barley

Serves 8 to 10

4 tbsp. butter, divided
2 lbs. beef tips, diced
4 medium onions, sliced
4 carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ cup pearl barley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 golden potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 quarts of beef stock, hot
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 300°.

2. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season beef with 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Add onions and next 2 ingredients and cook till browned. Transfer to plate with beef tips.

3. Add barley, fresh thyme and beef mixture to Dutch oven, stirring to combine. Place potatoes on top of mixture, add beef stock and bring to simmer over medium high heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for 1½ hours.

4. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly till a paste forms.

5. Remove stew from oven and carefully ladle liquid into saucepan with roux. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and smooth. Then pour the thickened gravy back into the stew before serving.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes


Hector Sanchez

Kevin Dundon’s Guinness Irish Soda Bread
Makes 1 (9-inch) round loaf

½ tsp. butter
2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup quick cooking oats
1 tbsp. whole cumin seed, crushed
2 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. molasses
3 oz. Guinness beer
1 ¾ cups buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with the butter; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the first 5 ingredients. Pass the baking soda through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps, and combine with the flour mixture. Whisk to combine well.

3. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the eggs together with the treacle. Whisk in the Guinness and then the buttermilk. Combine with the flour mixture and mix to a sloppy consistency.

4. Pour the batter into a greased tin and smooth the top of the bread with a wet spoon.

5. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Immediately remove the bread from the tin and invert onto a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Return the bread to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool down at least 30 minutes before slicing to serve.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 5 minutes