It’s easy to make a comforting Irish Beef Stew right in your slow cooker for St. Patrick’s Day! Packed with beef, vegetables and a delicious gravy, this is comfort food at its finest.
We are absolutely a “meat and potatoes” household. I think we’d gladly eat that for every meal of the week, ha! And this stew is no different – I first shared this recipe in 2016, but thought it finally needed an update before I miss another St. Patrick’s Day. So, here we are now (March 9th 2020) ☺️🍀
The more kids I have 😅, the more I’ve been using my slow cooker. Whil I make a mean Beef and Guiness Stew in my Dutch oven (and like to get vocal about my dislike of the trusty old crockpot, haha!) and a great Irish Stew in my Instant Pot – honestly, nothing beats the crock on a crazy day with 3 little kids running about.
I’m adding the instructions for the stove and for the instant pot at the bottom of this post for your convenience, but I definitely make stew most often in the slow cooker these days. Now let me show you how:
📹 Full Video Instructions
🥣 Step by Step
1 Brown the meat, in batches if needed. Feel free to skip if you’re short on time, but you will miss out on some of the flavor.
2 Sauté the onions in the same pan, then deglaze with beef broth OR dark beer. You can skip the sautéing if you want prep to be super quick, the taste of the onion will be a little different vs when they’re sautéed first.
A note about the liquid: I used to use a dark beer in Irish stew when my kids were still on baby/toddler meals, but now the older two are eating all of the same foods as we do and they hate the taste of beer. So, I now use stock vs beer. If you want to use beer, I STRONGLY recommend taking the time to at least sauté the onions. Use the beer to deglaze the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes to cook off some of the alcohol.
3 Pack the meat and onions in your crock with potatoes/carrots/celery. Whisk together stock, flour and Worcestershire and pour in the crock. I also tucked in a few fresh herb sprigs, but feel free to use dried if you prefer. Slow cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 7-8 hours.
4 To thicken the stew, open the slow cooker once the time is up. Carefully stir, then stir in a cornstarch slurry (make sure to stir it in thoroughly or it won’t work!) and simmer without the lid for 15-30 minutes.
We like the traditional whole wheat Irish soda bread with this stew, but it’s also delicious with regular bread (or just by itself).
💡 Dutch Oven or Instant Pot Instructions
Dutch oven: Heat the oven to 350°F. Brown the meat/sauté the onions in a large Dutch oven. Deglaze with beer or broth, then take off the heat. Add the vegetables, broth/flour/Worcestershire mixture and herbs. Close with the lid and put in the oven for 1-2 hours. CAREFULLY remove, using oven gloves (!!). Put on the stove, remove the lid and stir in the cornstarch slurry over medium heat. Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until thickened to your liking.
Instant Pot: Set the instant pot to “sauté” and brown the meat in batches. Remove, then sauté the onion. Deglaze with beer or broth, then switch off the instant pot.
Add the meat back in, and add the vegetables, broth/flour/Worcestershire mixture and herbs. Close the instant pot and set the valve to “sealing”. Press the “stew” button.
Once the pot is indicating it’s done with cooking, do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes (just unplug your pot and leave it alone). Then manually release any remaining pressure and open the lid.
To thicken, set the instant pot to sauté and stir in the cornstarch slurry. Simmer until thickened. Alternatively, you can blend 1 cup of the stew and stir it back in.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1.5 lbs beef stew meat (in 1-2 inch cubes)
- 2 small-medium onions (peeled and cut into slim wedges)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 pound waxy potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)
- 4 medium carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
- 3 sticks celery (sliced)
- 4 cups beef broth (see notes if want to use beer)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (can use soy sauce in place)
- 4 tablespoons white flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 sprig thyme (OR 1/4 teaspoon dried)
- 1 sprig rosemary (OR 1/4 teaspoon dried)
- 1 bay leaf (skip if you don’t have)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (stirred into 3 tablespoon cool water to make a slurry (use more cornstarch for an extra-thick gravy, but don’t overdo it – it will thicken more as it cools slightly))
- Brown meat and sauté onions (feel free to skip this step; but highly recommended especially when using beer): Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and brown; remove and add to 4-6 quart slow cooker. Add onions to skillet and sauté over medium heat until softened. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the beef broth, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan (see notes for using dark beer in this step). Take off the heat and carefully pour into slow cooker over meat.
- Cook stew: Place potatoes, carrots and celery in slow cooker. Whisk together broth, Worcestershire sauce and flour in a measuring jug. Pour over meat and vegetables in slow cooker, then carefully stir. Tuck in herbs, close lid and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.
- Thicken: Open slow cooker and carefully stir. Pour in cornstarch slurry, stirring to combine well. Simmer WITHOUT the lid for 15-30 minuets on HIGH, until thickened.