Irish Beef Stew
2 ounces bacon, cut into chunks
2½ pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
freshly-cracked black pepper
canola oil, if needed
1 large white or yellow onion (about 2 cups), diced
2 cups cremini mushrooms, quartered or cut into 1/6ths
2 large carrots (about 1 cup), cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup celery, diced
1 parsnip, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup flour
1 ( 12 ounce) bottle Guinness beer
5 cups beef stock
1½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes (3 cups), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4-5 sprigs thyme
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Render the bacon over medium heat. Once the fat is rendered and the bacon is beginning to crisp, remove it and set aside. Generously season the beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the beef on all sides. Transfer the seared beef to a clean plate and continue working in batches until all of the beef is cooked. If the pan seems dry you can add a drizzle of canola oil.
Add the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes until they begin to release their water. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until soft. Add the tomato paste and the flour. Cook, stirring well, until the tomato paste turns a dark red. Add the beer and bring to a simmer while using your spoon to scrap up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the beef stock, seared beef and any of its accumulated juices, the potatoes, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer until the meat is completely tender, about 2 - 2½ hours. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Garnish with parsley before serving.