This is the second year in a row that I’ve organized a St. Patrick’s Day theme hop, and I’m delighted to have 13 other talented blogger buddies join me!

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For the When Irish Eyes are Smiling party, I’ve expanded from just holiday tablescapes to include vignettes, crafts, and foods. You’re sure to find plenty of inspiration for celebrating —whether you’re Irish or not! Links to each feature are listed at the end of the rainbow post.

Today, I’m sharing my favorite St. Patrick’s Day dish, a stout-infused Irish stew with herbed dumplings. It’s the ultimate comfort food! And, perfect for the season here in Pittsburgh. On March 17th, we’re usually still experiencing cold, if not winter weather. Rather than seeing the green, it’s not uncommon for a blanket of white snow to cover the ground!

Mr. Buzz loves this flavorful, filling dish, with it’s fork tender meat and rich, deep brown gravy. He wishes I’d make it more than once a year. Happily, there’s usually enough leftovers to enjoy another day.

My approach to making Irish stew offers numerous options, so you can pick and choose the ingredients and cooking method that is sure to please family and friends.

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If you’re coming from Mary’s festive handmade cone party favors, welcome lads and lassies!

Irish Comfort Food & Variations

Irish-castle
Photo credit: Wallace Bentt, Unsplash

Native to Ireland, the stew is traditionally made with root vegetables and lamb or mutton, but also commonly with beef. As with most folk dishes, the exact recipe varies from time to time, and place to place.

The same holds true for my version of Irish stew — a blend of three different online recipes, modified to meet my family’s preferences. It’s pretty easy to mix and match between recipes.

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Unfortunately, the original Irish food blog that inspired my own stew is no longer published. Here are other posts and recipes that I’ve also drawn from:

Debbee’s Kiss Me, I’m Irish Stew

What follows is not an exact recipe, but highlights the ingredients I use to make Irish stew. It easily makes four to six hearty servings.

Variations in my Irish stew, include; using bacon, beef, Guinness Stout, mushrooms, and herbed dumplings. My dish is also cooked solely on the stovetop, while some recipes call for using a slow cooker, or transferring the stew to finish in an oven to bake.

Start with Bacon, Beef

One of the recipes I combined to make Irish stew starts with bacon rather than vegetable or canola oil. Begin by heating a large stock pot or Dutch oven to medium heat. Then brown and crisp about a half pound of diced, thick-sliced bacon.

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Brown, diced bacon put aside to add to the stew later, while rendered fat is used to sear beef and brown vegetables.

Rather than lamb, I use a beef chuck roast or boneless beef chuck for Irish stew. Add the beef to the pot with bacon drippings, and sear. Once all sides are brown, remove the beef pieces with a slotted spoon and place them aside with the already crisped bacon.

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Two pounds of beef chuck roast cut into pieces and tossed in 2T flour, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.

By searing the beef in the fat from the bacon, and then cooking the vegetables and garlic in the same fat, infuses a much deeper meaty flavor to the stew.

Beef chuck’s connective tissue breaks down and that gelatin keeps the meat moist. But that means the beef doesn’t release a lot of fat into the stew. So, for the veggies to have a meaty flavor requires a bit of bacon grease.

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Carrot slices, diced sweet onion, and minced garlic browned in 1T of unsalted butter and remaining bacon drippings.

Next come the veggies. Start by cooking onions (pearl onions are a nice substitution for sliced) until softened. And, be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate brown bits leftover from the beef. Although many recipes for Irish stew call for adding chopped celery at this point, I do not.

About four large, peeled and sliced carrots are added next; cooking five minutes. Follow that with eight baby Yukon Gold potatoes (cut in half), and cook five additional minutes.

Now, stir in 4T of tomato paste, making sure all the pieces are coated. Stir often for another five to ten minutes. Finally, add the beef and bacon back into the pot.

Mushrooms Enhance Earthiness

Another ingredient I add for extra earthy, savory flavor is mushrooms. You’re far less likely to find mushrooms in most traditional Irish stew recipes. But my family loves ’em! Do you?

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After liquids, a mixed variety of mushrooms added, submerged and brought to a boil.

I don’t know if the kind of mushrooms matter in making Irish stew? I usually just dump in an 8 ounce, mixed variety package from my grocer.

Some recipes cook the mushrooms in the bacon grease (after the beef), and then put them aside along with the seared meat. I don’t bother with the browning step. Instead I simply add raw mushrooms after the stout and beef stock (see next step). Just be sure they are immersed in the liquids before it comes to a boil.

Stout Infused Flavor

Another Irish stew variation I embrace is to infuse a robust, deep flavor by adding a bottle or can of Guinness Stout. Made from barley, hops, water and a specific strain of yeast, Guinness is a traditional Irish stout beer. It’s deep color and caramelized flavor come from the barley that is roasted, not malted.

As the beer cooks down, it also tenderizes the beef. Used in place of water, beer brings out the richness of the meat and veggies. The alcohol evaporates, leaving only the flavors behind.

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Before adding other liquids, pour in the stout to deglaze the pan.

Afterwards, I stir five to six cups of low sodium beef stock into the pot. If you aren’t adding mushrooms, you likely only need four cups. Often, I’ll also add a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce for a little twang.

Then comes some bay leaf and sprigs of thyme or rosemary. Bring the entire mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 60 to 90 additional minutes — until the beef is tender and practically falling apart.

Herb Dumplings

When I’m not making/serving Irish soda bread, I add easy herb dumplings to the stew. For ingredient measurements, refer to the online recipes referenced earlier.

Begin by whisking the flour, baking powder, herbs and salt together in a separate a bowl. Combine buttermilk and egg in another bowl before stirring into the flour. Oftentimes, I also add cheddar cheese. Let the mixture set up for about 10 minutes.

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Once the beef is tender, uncover the Irish stew and drop six large spoonful of dough directly into the liquid. Then leave the mixture bubbling for 10 to 15 minutes. Flip the dumplings over and cook a final five to 10 minutes.

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One the dumplings are done cooking, serve the stew immediately. Should you have any leftovers, the stew is very freezer friendly — minus the dumplings. Doesn’t it look yummy?

Have you ever made Irish stew? If so, with lamb or beef? Do you add stout?

Serve Irish Stew in St. Paddy’s Day Setting

The Irish Stew I’ve shared with you today was actually served last year on St. Patrick’s Day. I used low, flat antique Haviland bowls that had belonged to hubby’s great grandmother.

See that table and others from the 2021 hop, 14 Stylists Share St. Patrick’s Day Table Setting Ideas.

And, learn how to fold a Lucky 3 Leaf Clover Napkin for a quick and easy way to style a St. Patrick’s Day table.

This year, I’ll be serving the Irish stew on a newly styled holiday table using my Ireland Pursuit dishes. I’m the 12th lucky blogger to be a Keeper of the Cloth and it’s traveling leprechaun companion. See it at, Traveling Irish Shamrock Cloth Tablescape.

In fact, five other ladies participating in today’s hop have preceded me as Keepers — Mary, Sarah, Jenna, Rita and Linda. Linda kindly passed the tradition and cloth on to me.

Related Post Picks

14 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Today, my talented blogger friends are sharing a variety of ideas and inspiration for celebrating the upcoming holiday. Next up is Karen and her clever copper penny table runner.

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Bee sure to check out all 14 posts, including; Irish theme table settings, vignettes, crafts, table favors, and a tasty beverage.

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St. Patrick’s Day Flying Colors TablescapePanoply

Top of the Mornin’ to You!Hyacinths for the Soul

A Table With Irish Knot Carolers Life and Linda

Feelin’ A Wee Bit IrishHome is Where the Boat Is

Easy, Hearty Irish Stew for St. Patrick’s DayDebbee’s Buzz

St. Patrick’s Day Copper & Green TableKarins Kottage

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Lucky & Blessed St. Patrick’s Day TableThe Painted Apron

Copycat Red Robin Chocolate Guinness ShakeMy Hubbard Home

Putting a Spring Into My Step on St. Patrick’s DayThe Little Yellow Corner Store

 St. Patrick’s Day Blessings and TablescapeMe and My Captain

 Flower Pot Leprechaun Hat St. Patrick’s Day CraftInterior Frugalista

How to Set an Elegantly Nonconformist St Patrick’s Day TablescapeMantel and Table

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Enchanted Leprechaun Grove Corner of Plaid and Paisley

St. Patrick’s Day Door Hanger Dollar Tree DIY Zucchini Sisters

2021 St. Patrick’s Day Table Setting IdeasDebbee’s Buzz

Heading to the Emerald Isle

Because of the continued impacts from COVID and the immergence of the omicron variant, Mr. Buzz and I reluctantly cancelled our upcoming April trip to Holland. It was right around Christmas and the Netherlands were in their sixth week of lockdown. And, they only very recently lifted a required 10-day quarantine for those entering the country — even those fully vaccinated and boosted who test negative!

We just couldn’t take that big of a financial risk. And, we didn’t want to spend our entire visit to Holland restricted to a river boat or hotel room. So, we’ll take the same Tauck vacation, but not until 2023.

But, at long last, it looks like our trip to Ireland is finally going to happen this summer! Thanks to the pandemic, the vacation will take place more than two years later than originally scheduled.

We are going on a ten-day, small group tour with CIE Tours. Celebrating their 90th anniversary this year, CIE has a long history in Irish hospitality (I have no affiliation with the company). Dear friends had traveled with CIE to Ireland before. We discovered the company had an excellent reputation, while offering lots of different Irish itineraries and types of tours.

Some of the places we’ll be visiting and exploring include; Dublin, Kildare, National Stud, Waterford, Blarney Castle, Killarney, the Dingle Peninsula, Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and Aran Islands. We’ll be staying in a few castles and taking part in some wonderful cultural excursions.

Have you ever vacationed in Ireland? Have any suggestions or advice you’d like to share?

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I regularly participate in: Metamorphous Monday, Centerpiece Wednesday, Share Your Style, Tablescape Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Fabulous Friday, Saturday Sparks, Happiness is Homemade, and Love Your Creativity.

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