The traditional Irish Stew gets an infusion of flavor with this recipe using tender pork, earthy caraway seeds, and Irish stout in a simmering broth that thickens as it cooks thanks to a surprising method: cooking with the pork bones!
this recipe is brought to you by McCormick®
When McCormick asked me to create a recipe that celebrates the luck o’ the Irish and can be served for a crowd tinged in shamrock green, I knew there were a few essential elements to be addressed.
First, the recipe should be easy and flexible enough to be doubled or even tripled for a celebratory crowd. #checkthat
Second, while some of us are thinking of bikini season and lighter fare, comfort food and stewy goodness is what holidays like this really call for. #checkthat
To really celebrate in Irish fashion the recipe should definitely include Irish stout as one of the ingredients. #checkthat
So, that’s why this year’s St. Patrick’s Day recipe is an incredibly easy-to-make pork stew loaded with veggies and tinged with the nothing-says-Irish-like-flavors of Irish Stout and earthy caraway seeds. #cheersallaroundandcheckthattoo!
How to Make Pork Stew the Irish Way
Lamb stew may be traditional Irish fare, but I’ve never been much a fan of the flavor of lamb and that’s why pork is the featured player here.
You may be wondering what is the best cut of pork to use to make the best stew? Just like cuts of beef, a little marbling in your pork is the fat that adds flavor, and because this stew is braised for 2 1/2 hours allowing enough time for the meat and the vegetables and the Irish stout to infuse into a deliciously hearty blend, you want to choose a cut of meat that isn’t too lean so it dries out over time, but instead gets better as it cooks.
That’s why I used bone-in pork shoulder blade steaks, essentially the whole cut of the pork chop. I trimmed the meat from the bone, and then trimmed the larger pieces of fat from the meat and cut into 1 1/2″ or so pieces.
How to Thicken Stew Naturally
You may also be wondering why I chose to use pork on the bone instead of a boneless pork roast? Well, you could certainly use a roast if you’d like, but similar to my method for my easy homemade beef stock with a combination of the browned meat AND raw bones, the flavor becomes richer and thicker thanks to the gelatin released from the raw bones as they cook.
In addition to adding flavor to the broth, browning the trimmed pork meat in a light dredge of seasoned flour adds another thickening agent to the stock as it cooks down after deglazing it with the Irish Stout and water.
If you’d like to try this recipe with beef, I suggest using a chuck roast trimmed into cubes with and add 2 or more beef shanks, oxtail, or marrow bones to the mix to really impart the meaty flavor.
What Are Caraway Seeds?
This Irish pork stew gets it’s earthy base flavor from the sautéed pork, onion, and mushroom and gets an extra Irish flavor boost with the addition of McCormick’s nutty caraway seeds and bay leaves.
If you aren’t familiar with caraway seeds, are a member of the carrot family and similar to fennel, dill, and cumin seeds. Are caraway seeds the same as fennel? Not exactly. Caraway seeds are more subtle in their and can add a load of flavor packed in their tiny seed package to potato salads, soups, coleslaws and one of my favorites: cabbage side dishes.
Once the meat, mushrooms, and onions have simmered with the stout, water, caraway and bay leaves for an hour, it’s time to add another layer of flavor by adding the vegetable ingredients.
Root vegetables are common in stews because they don’t break down during longer cooking times and are oh-so delicious. A few veggie ideas for you to include in your stew are:
- Yukon gold or baby red potatoes (the creaminess of the yukon gold will help thicken the sauce yet again)
- Green beans
And while not traditional, I reheated my leftovers with a huge handful of spinach to add more vitamins to this already healthy stew. Chopped kale and even cabbage would be tasty too.
There’s not much more you need by way of herbs for this stew besides fresh parsley for a bright pick me up right before you dig on in and chase it all down with an extra swig of Irish stout (and don’t forget the bread for extra dipping!)
More Recipe Ideas to Add the Luck of the Irish to Your Meal
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
- My Favorite Reuben Sandwich
- Corned Beef Pie
- Cheddar and Bacon Irish Soda Bread
- Irish Pub Salad (that isn’t potato salad!)
- Traditional Irish Leek and Potato Soup
- Colcannon Recipe
- Irish Cream Bundt Cake
Irish Pork Stew with Stout and Caraway Seeds
- 3 1/2 to 4 pounds bone-in pork shoulder blade steak or about 3 pounds of cubed meat plus bones
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper divided
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 medium yellow onions chopped (about 5 cups)
- 1/2 pound brown mushrooms quartered
- 1 tablespoon McCormick caraway seeds
- 1 1/2 cups Irish Stout
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 McCormick bay leaves
- 4 carrots peeled and sliced about 1/4" thick
- 1/2 pound baby Yukon Gold or small red potatoes quartered
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Trim the bones from the pork shoulder steaks and set aside. Trim the fat from the meat (and discard) and cut the pork into 1-inch cubes. In a gallon-size resealable freezer bag, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Add the pork and shake to coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large oven-proof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the meat to the pot so it covers the bottom of the pot evenly and cook for 2-3 minutes before moving so that the sides brown nicely for a total of about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl, add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and finish browning the rest of the meat then transfer that to the bowl as well.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the last tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and heat until it's shimmering. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the caraway seeds and the 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Add the raw pork bones to the Dutch oven and top with the cooked pork chunks. Add the Irish Stout, water and bay leaves then raise the heat and bring to a boil, and stir and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour.
Remove the pot from the oven, give it a stir if you'd like, and add the carrots and potatoes, cover again and put back in the oven for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the carrots and potatoes are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the pot from the oven and the remove the bones from the stew. Add the parsley and stir everything together, taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed. Serve hot. The stew can be refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
This post is sponsored by McCormick®. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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