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beef in guinness
Beef Braised in Guinness

jacket potatoes
Jacket Potatoes

Menu Plan for the week of March 15, 2013:  Sunday's Recipes

Beef Braised in Guinness
Jacket Potatoes

Cooking time:  80 minutes for menu          Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

      You can substitute any beer for the Guinness if it's hard to find, a full-bodied dark beer would be best. You should be able to buy it by the single (large) can.  Buy an extra to drink with dinner....   This is an easy dinner - start it, then ignore it for an hour.  It also expands easily for a party. You could make it all ahead and reheat.

Beef Braised in Guinness                                   Preparation and cooking time:  80 minutes
  A classic for St. Patrick's Day and a great cold-weather dish anytime. Slow braising makes the beef meltingly tender and the beer adds a robust flavor.  Serve with 'Jacket Potatoes': potatoes baked in their skin and a staple in Ireland.  This makes enough for 4 or 2 meals for two.  

24oz (700gr) beef suitable for stewing or braising
1 large or 2 medium onions
2 cloves garlic
5 - 6 medium carrots
3 bay (laurel) leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cups (1 pint) Guinness
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) beef stock
1 tbs oil
4 tbs cornstarch (maizena, corn flour)
1 tbs paprika

Cut beef into 1" (2.5 cm) cubes.  Cut onion into quarters, then slice thinly.  Mince or press garlic.  Cut carrots in half the long way, then into 1" (2.5cm) pieces. 
Combine paprika and cornstarch in a plastic food bag.  Add beef and toss to coat evenly.  In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, large enough to hold everything easily, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add beef and brown on all sides.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer at least an hour.   If it starts to dry out, add more Guinness or beef stock. 
If you would like the sauce thicker, dissolve 1 tbs cornstarch in 2 tbs water and stir in as much as you need - a little at a time, cooking and checking, or it will get too thick.
When ready to eat, remove bay leaves and serve.

Jacket Potatoes                                               Preparation and cooking time:  60 minutes
   Traditional baked potatoes, very simple, always tasty.  I can only get thin-skinned, waxy potatoes so I boil them, skin on.  If you can, get a proper baking potato and bake in their 'jackets'.  Cooking times depend on size.

2 potatoes
salt, pepper, butter all optional

Scrub potatoes, poke a few holes in with a fork and bake, 400F (200C) until done, about 40 - 60 minutes. 

Or, cut in half or quarters, and boil, covered in water, until tender, 20 - 30 minutes.

Cooking schedule: 80 minutes
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
heavy saucepan or small Dutch oven, oven or
saucepan for potatoes

Turn oven on, 400F (200C) if baking potatoes
Slice onion
Mince garlic
Cut carrots
Sauté onion
Cut beef
Mix paprika, cornstarch in bag, add beef, mix

Add beef to pan, brown
Add garlic, sauté
Add remaining ingredients, boil
Cover, simmer
Scrub potatoes and start to bake
     Go do something for 30 minutes.....
If boiling potatoes, start now
Check the beef - simmering nicely? Does it need liquid?
     Go do something for another 30 minutes.....
Finish beef, if needed.... thicken if you like
Remove potatoes, serve

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