Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a good old-fashioned Irish stew. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at iwrite33@comcast.net or 504-0545.

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, so let’s get a head start so you can buy your provisions early, before the Guinness runs out.

Some advice: be sure to use a beef chuck roast rather than pre-cut stew meat and add plenty of carrots as they will lend a delightful sweetness that will cut the bitterness of the stout. You’ll want to allow the stew to cook low and slow.

“And will you have a slice now?” as they say in Ireland.

“Why, yes, yes I will,” is the answer. Indulging in a slice of cake, enjoyed with a cup of steaming strong tea, is an Irish custom that I can really put my arms around.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that carrot cake is a huge favorite in Ireland so I thought I’d share this straight-up recipe that has no embellishments or extras except for this one tweak: brown butter. It makes for a tasty, beautiful slice.

There will be more Irish goodness in next week’s column.


Irish beef stew

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more as needed

1/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (11- to 12-ounce) bottle Guinness Irish Stout

3 cups beef broth

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 pounds large carrots (about 5), cut into 2-inch pieces

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces

3 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Season beef with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.


Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until simmering. Add half the beef in a single layer and cook until browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a large bowl. Brown the remaining beef, adding more vegetable oil to the pot if needed, then transfer to the bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and tomato paste and stir to coat the onions until flour is incorporated. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in Guinness then use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and the Guinness is reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaf, and stir to combine. Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a bare simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, about 2 hours.

Stir carrots and potatoes into the stew. Cover and simmer until vegetables are done and beef is tender, about 30 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Spoon off any excess fat, then ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.

Yield: 6 servings

Carrot cake with brown butter


14 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups packed carrot, grated on the large holes of a box grater

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons kosher salt


1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs

2 cups flour


2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-5-inch glass loaf pan with butter or nonstick spray.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, scraping up bits from the bottom. When you see golden-brown flecks around the edges or bottom, turn the heat off and keep stirring until the solids are a fragrant nutty brown.

In a large bowl, mix the brown butter (reserve 2 tablespoons for the frosting) with the carrot. Stir in sugars, vanilla, spices, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Add half the flour and stir until just combined. Add buttermilk and mix, then add remaining flour. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out batter-free. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a rack.

Yield: 8 servings



8 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons brown butter

Combine all ingredients with a mixer. Invert cooled cake onto a plate and spread or pipe frosting on top.

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