Irish Stew Even Kids Will Eat

bowl-of-irish-stew-2This photo is from Kelley Chisholm’s Irish Stew recipe here, with permission. Check out her other great recipes!

Last semester my 2nd grader had to do a presentation about his ancestry, for which he interviewed my father about his Irish heritage and the first relative who came to America from Ireland in the early 1900’s. There was much conjecture, since we are descended from poor Irish working folk, who didn’t exactly leave detailed registries of our lineage. Still, my son was able to cobble together a sense of what life was like for a young boy in Ireland who came to America during that time, and his presentation was precious.

Another part of the assignment had to do with food. This project has become something of a rite of passage at my children’s school: parents are asked to bring a dish to this presentation that is indicative of the cuisine from their ancestor’s culture. Since the Irish aren’t exactly known for their culinary delights, and I am short on time, I chose a simple Irish Stew. It is easy to throw everything into a crockpot, turn it on, and walk away. My favorite.

Actually, what is really my favorite thing about this stew is that the children loved it. Imagine a roomful of 2nd-graders and one or both of their parents eating something you made, spooning it out of little cups, and going back for more. One little girl flitted past me, eagerly downing her stew, exclaiming “This is AMAZING!” It was like I spiked the pot with pixie dust or something.

But I think it was just the thyme.

Here is the recipe I adapted from Taste of Home:

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1-1/2 pounds stew beef
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
8 new potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons water

1. Place 1/3 cup flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat.
2. In a saute pan, brown beef in batches in 2 tablespoons oil. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, saute onions in remaining oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
3. Add broth, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.
4. Pour broth into crockpot. Add beef, potatoes, and carrots. Cook for 4 hours on low or until meat and vegetables are cooked through.
5. Add frozen peas, seasonings, and Worchestershire sauce.
6. Combine remaining flour with water until smooth; stir into stew. Cook for 30 minutes until peas are tender and stew is thickened.

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irish stew

Cool Meals For Hot Nights – Crockpot Chili

Several times throughout the summer I’ll be posting good recipes that will help you feed your family without making your kitchen much hotter.  This first recipe is my tried and true chili, but after this I’ll be sharing recipes from other bloggers around the country who write about events and activities in their own small communities.  Without further ado, here is the first in my “Cool Meals For Hot Nights” series:

Crockpot Chili

I know, you were expecting something like a cold salad or a grilled meat entree for hot nights, but honestly, sometimes you want something HOT on a hot night.  Chili is crowd-pleasing and delicious, and you can vary it by serving over rice, hot dogs, burgers, or with different toppings.  My favorite way to eat this chili recipe is to top it with chopped fresh cilantro and shredded cheddar, with a nice cold light beer to go with it.

This recipe is SO EASY to make, and so tasty to eat, that you will not believe it.  It’s perfect to cook up overnight when you know you’ll be gone all day at the beach or other summer outing, and you won’t want to deal with putting dinner together when you get home.

Crockpot Chili*

2 lbs. ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 14 oz cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1.5 x 28 oz cans tomato puree

1 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef and drain, place into crockpot.  Add all other ingredients.  Cook on high 4-5 hours.

BAM!  Depending on how big your family is, one pot of this chili can last you several days.

*source:  I found the original recipe on the internet many years ago, and I have adapted it a lot to suit my family’s taste.  You should definitely add more chili powder if you like it super spicy!