Beef in Guinness

The temperature is due to drop toward the end of this week, so it’s the perfect time to start dusting off those rich and comforting cardigan-weather recipes. Autumn is my favourite season. It’s for snuggling up under soft blankets with hot drinks. It’s made for fluffy slipper-boots, new pyjamas, woodsy scented candles and big, blousy scarves manipulated into a deliberate tangle of heat against your chest. It is a celebration of all that is wonderful about being cosy.

Last week, before the falling leaves had quite reached their optimum crunchiness, I prematurely dragged out my beef in Guinness recipe. I save it for this time of year. Any other time it just feels out of a place. It’s filling, warming and if, like me, you’re a forced non-drinker it’s a sneaky way of having a Guinness without really having a Guinness. Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 800g-1kg diced braising beef
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into crescents
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bottle of Guinness (500ml)
  • 200g stoneless dried prunes, sliced in half
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar or pre-made glaze
  • 1 tbs soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • approx. 750ml strong beef sock
  • 2-3 tbs plain flour
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • small amount of olive oil and butter for browning
  • Preheat oven to 160˚C


  1. Heat some of the oil and butter in a heavy based casserole pan. Coat the diced meat in half the flour and brown in batches. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add a little more oil and sweat the onion slices with the thyme and bay leaf. Add the remaining flour and stir until flour has created a paste around the onions.
  3. Pour in the Guinness and stir before returning the beef to the pan.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a steady simmer.
  5. Place in the oven with the lid on for 1.5 to 2 hours, checking every 30 minutes or so to stir and add water if becoming too thick. The meat is completely cooked once it collapses under gentle pressure from the back of a spoon against the side of the pan.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to simmer on the hob with the lid off for approx. 10-15 minutes to reduce the sauce.
  7. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. If too much bitterness remains from the stout, a little extra brown sugar will fix.

Serve with buttery mashed potato.



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