Do It Yourself Irish Food

We eat in, a lot. As much as we can, really. It’s pretty easy to do when housesitting, and when on the road we routinely look for hostels with kitchens.

Not only does it help us save money, but Pete is a fabulous cook. He loves to be in the kitchen and trying new things, and he always makes a point of trying to recreate local cuisine we’ve eaten when we do go out to a restaurant. The Latin American staple of rice and beans is one of his favorites, and he typically gets to enjoy that one all to himself (ick).

And now Pete’s added a few more delicious recipes to his arsenal.  The Irish aren’t known for their culinary prowess (more for their drinks – yum!), but with a little creativity, and some help from Sasha at Global Table Adventures, he turned some Irish food staples into really fantastic dishes.

Guinness Stew

The list of ingredients may look intimidating, but this had to be the best stew I have ever eaten (and also heartily approved by our neighbor)!


Irish Food Making Guinness Stew1/3 cup olive oil
3 cups of beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces, salted prior to cooking
6-8 garlic cloves chopped (depending on preference)
8 cups beef stock
I pint Guinness beer
1 cup of red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp butter
3 cups of chopped potatoes
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups of chopped carrots
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat oil on medium-high heat.  Add beef, and sear outer edges.  Once all beef is browned, add garlic for one minute.  Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, oregano, rosemary, worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves.  Add desired salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour.

When beef mixture has about 20 minutes remaining in a separate pan melt butter and saute potatoes, onion, and carrots.  After 20 minutes of sauteing the vegetables add these to the beef mixture and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

After stew has cooked for 2 hours, remove from heat and serve.  Top with fresh parsley.

Irish Food - Guinness Stew

Boxty Pancakes

Ireland and the potato share a rocky history. It was once embraced as a cheap crop and a main source of nutrients for peasants during difficult times when British rule greatly restricted the land-owning rights of the Irish. Then came the Great Famine of 1845-1852 (caused by a mold infestation that destroyed potato crops), which caused the death of 1 million Irish, and the emigration of 1 million more.

Today, the Irish like to boil them, mash them, fry them in grease, and use them in stews.  Just like the rest of us.

But how about as a pancake?  This is something we had never tried before, so we turned to Sasha for some help with a new potato-y dish!

Irish Food - Boxty Potato Pancakes

They took an annoyingly long time to cook, but were really delicious.  Pete and I both added a dollop of sour cream to them, and it tasted almost like a perogy.  Yum!  Perogies for breakfast!

Soda Bread

This is a staple with most Irish meals, and we turned to Sasha again for some help with the recipe.  But Pete put me in charge of this project, and when I went to the store to look for ingredients, I found this:

Brown Soda Bread

Hmmm.  I’m all for home baking and fresh ingredients.  But I also can be a bit lazy at times. So I rolled up my sleeves, poured some milk, and baked.

Fresh Bakes Soda Bread

The verdict?  Better than some we’ve had in restaurants, and worse than others (you might want to stick with Sasha’s recipe).  But anything slathered in enough butter is delicious anyways!


*****Have you signed up for our monthly newsletter yet?  Our new issue is out tomorrow and we’ll be talking frankly about our finances, as well as revealing our upcoming travel plans!  Sign up now!*****

21 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • August 31 2011

    I don’t know about the soda bread (it just sounds strange, lol), but I can get behind the other ones! And I love stew, so I might even try my hand at that first recipe…
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Princess Di Lived Here?! London’s Creepiest Palace.

    • September 1 2011

      Soda bread is hit or miss. We’ve had some really great ones here, and then others that are just completely dry. That stew was SO delicious…mmm…

  • August 31 2011

    Guinness Stew?! That is just an awesome thing! It’s great to read how you enjoy housesitting. I’m really interested in doing that too.

    • September 1 2011

      Housesitting is the way to go for us! We have been letting it guide us on our travels. You should try it!

  • jill sare
    September 1 2011

    The beer stew recipe looks really interesting. I’d assume you add the sugar at the same time as the tom paste, wine, etc?

    • September 1 2011

      Yep you do! (Oops!) Enjoy!

  • September 1 2011

    That stew looks like a must-try. I enjoy Guinness and think it would add a distinct taste to the stew.

    I’ve had good soda bread before.. but you are right in saying too often it ends up dry. But dipped in that stew 🙂

    • September 1 2011

      YES! The driest bread would be good dipped in the stew!

  • September 1 2011

    That Guinness Stew looks delicious. I guess it’s kinda like Steak and Ale pie. Those are some really hearty meals, great for warding off the cold. I would never have thought to add wine to Guinness though. How did it taste?
    Anything made with potatoes is good in my book. I’ve never tried soda bread. Sometimes, they have it on the menu at our cafe at work but my Irish co-worker always says it’s not the greatest.
    Sounds like you’re adding some great recipes to your collection. Bon Appetit!
    InsideJourneys recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday – Harlem

    • September 1 2011

      We wondered about the wine (Pete adapted it from another recipe that specified it), and I think it really added to the flavor (I’ve had stew with just Guinness before). It was really rich and delicious!

  • September 1 2011

    Delicioius-looking pics. I couldn’t get enough of brown bread when I was in Ireland. Dreaming about it right now. Better check out Sasha’s recipe.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..A Tramp in Heidelberg

    • September 2 2011

      I’m sure hers will be better then my instant package kind! But, like I said, I’m lazy. Pete’s the chef! 🙂

  • Leah
    September 2 2011

    Made the pancakes for supper tonight. Yes, they are quite a bit slower than regular pancakes, but they went over well. Of course, what doesn’t taste good when your 6yrs old and it’s covered in syrup!

    I liked them smothered in butter, brown sugar and rolled up. yum!

    • September 2 2011

      Brown sugar! Never thought of that. YUM! Glad they were a hit! 🙂

  • September 2 2011

    If I could whip up something like that I would eat in more often myself 😛 YUM!!!
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Teaching English in China | Interview with Michael Tieso (Art of Backpacking)

    • September 2 2011

      Or, you need to marry a wannabe chef (like I did!!) 🙂

  • September 3 2011

    Both the pancakes and the stew sound delicious! Scott and I like to eat in too. He is a better cook than I am!
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..Photo Essay: Love, It Can Be Spotty

    • September 7 2011

      Isn’t it nice to have boys that can cook? 🙂

  • September 6 2011

    Delicious post! I think I will love having the soda bread!
    Arti recently posted..Festive colors of Ganesh Chaturthi – Ganpati Pandals, Mumbai

  • September 20 2011

    i LOVE LOVE LOVE guiness stew. and soda’ve got a winner! thx for the recipe!
    wandering educators recently posted..Book Offers Glimpse into life of Ghana’s street children

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge