The Walsh family emigrated from the southeastern region of Ireland to Richland Center, Wisconsin. While my grandma’s only home was Wisconsin her upbringing was deeply rooted in Irish heritage. In turn, she raised her five children with Irish Catholic principles and incorporated Gaelic traditions through their lives in form of song – specifically the Tura-Lura-Lura lullaby – dance, and food.
As youngsters, a typical meal for my mom, aunts, and uncles consisted of meat, potatoes, and a cooked vegetable. Aside from my beloved Macaroni and Tomato Juice, her cooking wasn’t much different for my brother and me. My grandma structured her meals on simplicity and health and she had a knack for making the most basic meals delicious. She was as simple of an eater as I am and, in my opinion, was a closeted picky eater herself.
In honor of my grandma’s recent passing, I drifted from my comfort zone and made an Irish Beef Stew with the contents of Grandma Marg’s best meals – beef, potatoes, and cooked vegetables. It was an afternoon to remember.
Irish Beef Stew: This recipe is semi-picky eater approved because I can’t figure out if I like stew or not. It has ingredients I like – beef, potatoes, and carrots – but I’m not sure about the concept of combining all of them in broth.
2 teaspoons salt + more for seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper + more for seasoning
3-pounds of beef cut into 1-inch cubes (traditionally boneless chuck roast)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
4 fresh thyme stems
4 medium celery stalks
4 cups gold potatoes
1 cup carrots
1 cup frozen peas
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in large pot on medium heat.
Combine 1/3 cup of flour and measured salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place one-third of the meat into the flour mixture. Roll to coat. Shake off excess flour and add meat to the pot. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove meat to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining meat in two more batches. Set aside.
Add onion and 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until transparent. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
Return the meat (and any juices!) to the pot. Add broth, bay leaves, and thyme. Stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring to boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for one hour.
Peel carrots and potatoes. Cut celery, potatoes, and carrots into large chunks and add to the pot. Stir to combine, cover, and simmer for about 45 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove bay leaves and thyme. Stir in peas and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until peas are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pickin’ Your Brain:
- What’s your favorite traditional meal from your family’s heritage?