A bowl of Irish beef stew on a wooden board next to slices of soda bread, a lump of homemade butter and a can of Guinness

Comforting Irish Stew - How To Make Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

The ultimate comforting Irish stew, with tender pull-apart beef, Guinness and a classic Irish grain - pearl barley. You'll find the full method and ingredients list below for this traditional Irish dish.
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Olivia Higgs
Mar 16
2 mins
Mar 16
2 mins

Considered the national dish of Ireland, the Irish stew is a hearty dish packed full of flavor. It originated from the rural, peasant communities in Ireland but is still popular today as a comfort food.Slow cooking in Ireland has its roots in the old methods of using a bastible over open fire (which is a cast iron pot with three or four legs) and it was a way of cooking down and tenderising cheap, tougher cuts of meat. The traditional version of Irish stew consists of just mutton or lamb, potatoes and onion but we’ve gone with cheap beef cuts and added a few extra ingredients like carrots, a good splash of Guinness for a richer broth, fresh thyme and parsley and pearl barley. If you make your own you can try cooking with game meats or adding dumplings on top for a more filling version.We left our pot on the stove slowly simmering away throughout the afternoon so when it came do dinner, our meat came out nice and tender.


  • 800g diced beef/braising steak
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 litre beef broth
  • 1 bottle Guinness
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 3 medium potatoes, roughly chopped into large chunks
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped into chunks
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley for serving

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  • Add a splash of cooking oil to a large stock pot and bring to a medium heat. Add your beef, season with salt and pepper and sear on a medium heat to brown the sides well (feel free to do this in batches if you haven't got enough room). Set aside
  • In the same pot add your garlic and onions. You can add a little more oil at this point if your pot is looking dry. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add back in the beef along with the broth, Guinness, thyme and extra salt and pepper for seasoning. Lower the heat so your stew is gently bubbling, cover with a lid and let simmer for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, add your pearl barley, potatoes and carrots. Check for seasoning. Let cook for half an hour with the lid on, then take the lid off at let cook for a final half hour to allow the sauce to reduce slightly.
  • Once cooked, make any final seasoning adjustments - salt, pepper any extra herbs you fancy throwing in. Serve warm with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and with a good chunk of soda bread.
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