Thursday is St. Patrick’s Day. A few years ago, I started making an Irish meal for my family on St. Patrick’s Day. I do have Irish roots, although the only member of our family to show her Irish roots is Elizabeth with her long, thick, red hair and sparkling green eyes. But I’ve attempted to expose my family to dishes that our ancestors may have enjoyed. In the Irish vein, we’ve tried corned beef and cabbage and soda bread and potato pancakes. But their favorite – by far – is beef stew.
This stew is hearty, warm, and delicious. It’s perfect for a cold rainy day when you’re cold to your bones. But since the past few St. Patrick’s Days here have boasted temperatures in the 80’s, I can also tell you that this stew is pretty darn awesome in any weather!
- 2-3 pounds of stew meat
- 3-4 cups of cubed potatoes
- 2-3 cups of whole baby carrots
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4-5 packages of brown gravy mix
- Salt and pepper
- Water to cover everything
Put meat and vegetables into a crock pot and stir to get everything mixed together. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Mix 3 packages of the gravy mix with two cups of water and pour over the ingredients in the crock pot. Add more water to just cover everything. Cook on low all day or 8-10 hours. When you get home, stir the stew. Turn heat to high. Dissolve the fourth package of gravy mix in a half-cup of water and stir into the stew. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thickened.
Well Duh #1: If the stew is not as thick as you like it, you can add the fifth package of gravy.
Well Duh #2: You may need to trim your stew meat if it is very fatty.
Well Duh #3: I served this stew with potato pancakes (another Irish staple). I used 4 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, a cup of flour, 1/2 a cup of sour cream, 1 egg, and a teaspoon of salt. Then I just made small pancakes on the griddle. Depending on how thick your mashed potatoes are, you may have to add more flour (to thicken) or more sour cream or even a little milk (to thin). Just make sure you have a pancake batter consistency.
This stew is yummy and hearty and delicious. In my master list of comfort foods, it ranks near the top.
Between my heritage (Irish, Scottish, French, German, English, and several American Indian tribes) and Michael’s (I’m not really sure, but I know there’s some German and English in there), our kids are really a mixed bunch! But we’ve learned to celebrate our roots – and the roots of lots of other people – through food!