The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.27.04


The luck & the stew of the Irish

Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter
Lullabies, dreams, and love ever after
Poems and songs with pipes and drums
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes

That's the Irish for you.

Irish folk have a reputation for telling good jokes and enjoying life in general. They dance as if no one is watching and sing as if no one is listening. Fortunately for us here in Quebec, there is no shortage of Irish goodwill or Irish-influenced food and music.

These ingredients along with a love of revelry combine to produce Quebec's own version of an Irish stew. French and English unite under the green shamrock banner annually to celebrate. This show of unity has been rare on the Quebec political landscape for a long while and perhaps it is time for us all to acknowledge our common roots more than once a year.

The following recipe uses a stout and frothy concoction that is world famous. Its addition to a stew makes for a tasty and healthy way to celebrate a combination of roots and home style meaty goodness.

Beef in Guinness beer

2 1/2 lb shin of beef or stewing beef
2 large onions
6 medium carrots
2 tbsp. seasoned flour - seasoned meaning salt and pepper to taste
A little fat or beef dripping - any oil will do
1 cup of Guinness and water mixed
2 sprigs of parsley
(Serves four)

The Guinness beer in this recipe has the same function as the wine in Coq Au Vin - the acid and moisture combined with the long, slow cooking help tenderize the tough but flavorsome meat. You can find this dark beer at the liquor store in cans.

Cut the beef into chunks and peel and slice the onions and carrots. Toss the beef in the flour and brown quickly in hot fat.

Remove the beef and fry the onions gently until transparent. Return the beef and add the carrots and the liquid.

Bring just to the boil, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer, cover tightly and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check that the dish does not dry out, adding more liquid if necessary. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with plainly boiled potatoes.