This comforting take on Irish Stew is as rich as the original, but skips the gluten & nightshades. A delicious one pot meal to warm you from the inside out.
BROWN: Preheat a large, deep sided Dutch oven over medium heat and coat with the oil. Working in two batches, lay the stew beef out in a single layer and brown on both sides. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl and repeat until all the meat is browned. (If the bottom of your Dutch oven starts to get rather dark in between batches, add a splash or two of water, scrape up the browned bits and pour that liquid off into the bowl with your browned meat.)
CHOP: Pre heat the oven to 325 F / 160 C & lower the oven rack so that there is room for the Dutch oven with a lid on to fit comfortably. While the meat is browning, chop each onion into 8 or so evenly sized wedges. Peel & chop the carrots into about 1/2 inch / 1.25 cm pieces. Peel the garlic and slice thinly.
SOFTEN: Once the beef is done, reduce the heat a little and add a splash of water to the Dutch oven, scraping up any browned bits with a spatula. Tumble in the onions & carrots, cooking them until the onions begin to reduce and soften, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
SEASON: Pour in the red wine and again stir up any browned bits. Add the beef broth, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper to the Dutch oven & remove from the heat. Return the browned beef to the pot, along with any juices & stir through. Tuck in the rosemary, thyme & bay leaves, then cover with a lid and cook for 1 hour.
ADD: Peel the white sweet potato and cut into 1 1/2 inch / 3.75 cm chunks. Remove the stew from the oven & nestle the chunks of sweet potato into the Dutch oven, making sure they are covered by the cooking liquid. Cover with the lid and return to the oven for another 1 hour.
THICKEN: Take the Irish stew from the oven and remove the Dutch oven lid. Return the pot to the stovetop over medium heat. Remove and discard the herbs. The beef should be fork tender, but still hold its shape and be juicy when you bite into it (see notes). Taste and adjust salt if needed. Measure the sifted cassava flour into a little jug or bowl, then add enough cold water to mix in into a smooth slurry with a spoon. Pour the cassava slurry into the Irish stew and stir it through. Cook until the stew has thickened and become a little glossy, about 5 – 10 minutes, then serve.
Yes, a traditional Irish stew uses lamb, but my husband is a hater (sad face) and it’s so much more expensive here that it’s hard for me to justify purchasing. Feel free to substitute it if you like, but make sure it’s more on the lean side and doesn’t have any large pieces of fat or connective tissue or the cook time will likely need extending. The lack of lamb and taters are why I dubbed this Almost Irish Stew!
For the best description of why cooking stew longer isn’t always better, this is a great read from Serious Eats.
For a thicker gravy, I like to add an extra chunk or two of sweet potato to the stew earlier on, then add those pieces to a blender along with some of the broth from the finished stew. Blend together until smooth, then stir through the stew to thicken to your taste.