- lean stewing beef, cut into chunks and patted dry
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- large onion, chopped
- packed brown sugar
- all-purpose flour
- hot beef broth
- stout (dark beer)
- red wine vinegar
- bay leaves
- strips bacon, diced
- wild mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- Spanish onion, chopped
- floury potatoes, peeled
- whole milk or buttermilk
- scallions, finely chopped
- finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
In Belgium and France this rich beef stew cooked in beer is called a carbonnade. It would probably be accompanied by good crusty bread and butter.
But to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this dish can be served with champ—a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with scallions and butter.
This dish can be eaten immediately, but is even better the following day.
Any kind of mushrooms can be used, says Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh, who serves this dish at The Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro in Bayfield, Ontario (Canada) and includes it in her book, “300 Best Potato Recipes,” published by Robert Rose Inc.
Porcini are among her favorite, but even button mushrooms are good in this dish. Dried wild mushrooms can be used, too. “They have masses of flavor and you can use the lovely warm water they’ve been rehydrated in for the stew,” she says.
Be sure to follow Sloan-McIntosh’s directions for mashed potatoes—as the author of a potato book, she knows them intimately.
- Season beef to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and sear all over, turning with tongs. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add onion to pan and sauté for about 10 minutes or until beginning to soften. Stir in brown sugar and sauté for another 10 minutes or until mixture is beginning to brown. Stir in flour until blended.
- Stir in beef broth and stout and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for around 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Reduce heat to medium and return beef and any accumulated juices back to pot. Reduce heat, cover and gently simmer for 1-1⁄2 to 2 hours or until beef is tender.
- In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook bacon, mushrooms and onion, stirring, for about 12 minutes or until bacon is cooked and vegetables are softened. Drain off fat and transfer bacon mixture to beef mixture once it's cooked, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to very low, cover and keep warm.
- Cut potatoes into uniform chunks and place in a large saucepan and add cold water to barely cover. Add salt, cover loosely and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk. Stir in green onions and bring just to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until onions are tender and flavors have infused.
- Drain potatoes well. Return to saucepan over very low heat and shake the pot back and forth to remove any trace of moisture. Using a potato masher, mash in butter. Mash in milk mixture until smooth.
Mound a quarter of the champ on each of four warmed individual shallow soup plates, making a little well in the center. Add a small knob of butter to melt. Spoon the carbonnade alongside. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.