Cut the meat into 2-inch cubes or smaller. (A bit of fat left on the meat will only enhance the flavor.) Pour about 2 tablespoons of the oil into a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, in batches, adding more oil to the skillet if needed. Transfer the browned meat to a platter and season with salt and pepper. When done, do not drain unless there is excess fat or liquid in the skillet. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and sauté in the pan juices over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until transparent. Put the lid on the skillet if needed to avoid losing moisture from the pan. Chop the garlic clove. Tie the bay leaf and thyme together and set aside.
Return the meat to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the flour. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring the mixture to prevent burning. Add the Guinness, garlic and tied herbs. Add the sliced carrots. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to the simmering point. Transfer the stew to an oven-proof casserole and cover with a lid.
Cook the stew in a 275 degree oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until the meat and carrots are very tender. Test for doneness after 1 ½ hours. When done, skim the fat from the juices, if desired. Serves 6. Serve the stew with the Champ (recipe follows).
Tip: Guinness Beef Stew is not traditionally served with a side dish, however, Brussels sprouts make a perfect vegetable accompaniment.
Wine recommendation: 2005 Poggio Al Ginepri, Bolgheri.
Wash the potatoes thoroughly. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Place the potatoes in the pot, cover and boil in their jackets for 30 minutes, or until tender, but not falling apart.
While the potatoes cook, trim the scallions and chop them. Remove the roots and most of the green tops of the leeks. Split the leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly to remove sand and dirt; then chop them. Place the scallions and leeks in a small saucepan and add the milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender, drain, peel and mash them with the softened butter. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the scallions and leeks from the hot milk (reserving the milk) and add them to the potatoes. Beat well together by hand or with an electric mixer, slowly adding the reserved hot milk until a smooth texture is achieved. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Transfer the potatoes to a warm dish until ready to serve.
Just before serving, make well in center of the potatoes and pour the hot melted butter (as much as desired) into the center. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Dip spoonfuls of Champ into the “butter well” when serving. Serves 6.
Tip: Champ is sometimes presented as a main supper dish with scrambled eggs served in the center.
Peel, core and slice the apples. Place the apple slices, 2 ounces of sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves and water in a saucepan. Cover and stew gently over low heat until half cooked, about 7 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Drain the apples and pour them into a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside while preparing the crumble.
Crumble: Place the butter and flour in a stainless steel bowl. Combine by rubbing the mixture between your fingertips, just until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.
Bake the apple crumble in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and edges are browned and bubbly.
Serve the crumble with a dollop of whipped cream and soft brown sugar sprinkled on top. Serves 6.
Prepare the coffee (preferably in a French press pot). Warm an Irish glass coffee mug. Put the brown sugar in the mug and add enough coffee to melt the sugar, stirring well. Add the Irish whiskey. Hold a teaspoon, curved side up, across the mug and pour the cold cream slowly over the spoon. Do not stir. The cream should float on top and the sweet, whiskey-laced coffee is drunk through the cold cream. Makes 1 serving.
Recipes by Sorcha Hyland.