Up until few days a ago, I had no food allergies. Zero. Not to shellfish or nuts. I could eat anything without having to worry about some kind of reaction. Sadly, this is no longer the case. I recently picked up the most delectable chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s. Thin, crispy dark chocolate encapsulated creamy caramel with a sprinkling of sea salt. I had intended break off one square, but it was so exquisite, one square led to four. Luckily John was there to eat the other half, otherwise I would have been in some serious trouble. Not long after enjoying this treat, I broke out into hives.
The last time I broke out into hives I found out I was allergic to sulfa, a sulfur compound used in medications. Hives covered over 90% of my body. I felt like 1000 fire ants were crawling over on me, biting and stinging. I was beyond miserable. I’m getting itchy just writing about it. A trip to urgent care and two shots later, I was back to normal.
As I broke out into hives again, memories of my last reaction came flooding back. The only thing new I had ingested was the candy bar. After closer inspection, we found it contained black lava sea salt. A quick google search and we found the salt contains high levels of sulfur. Apparently high levels of sulphur + me = hives. Sigh. There wasn’t a lot of salt, but it was enough to give me hives on my arms, legs and torso. After a dose of benydrl the hives eventually disappeared. Thank goodness John ate the other half of the chocolate bar or we may have been looking at another urgent care trip.
Sulfa allergies are pretty common, I know of at least 4 people who have them, my mom included. Although I am by NO means a medical professional, if you have a sulfa allergy, I suggest you beware of black lava sea salt. Just in case. Hives are no fun.
So this little tidbit has absolutely nothing to do with Guinness Beef Stew. But the stew is really good and so easy to make.
Start out with 4 pounds of beef stew meat, throw it in a large oven safe dutch oven and toss it with some flour. At this point, the stove is not on. No heat. Normally in a beef stew, you would be browning each piece of beef, in batches no less, then adding the rest of the ingredients. Not this time, but don’t worry, its going to be okay.
Now we’re adding some good stuff – tomato paste, onions and lots of garlic. I know it’s hard, but the stove is still not on.
Add the Guinness (the kind in a can) and broth. Add the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. NOW you can turn the heat on. Turn it up to medium and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, transfer it to a 350 degree oven and let it cook, covered, for one hour.
After an hour, open the pot and add the potatoes. The whole (scrubbed clean) potato. That’s the beauty of this stew – there’s no peeling or chopping of the potatoes! Peeling potatoes is one of my least favorite kitchen jobs. Once the stew has completed it’s run in the oven, remove the pot and add the peas. The peas will warm up almost instantly. This beef stew is rich and full of flavor. The meat is super tender and the potatoes are firm, yet creamy on the inside. I’m not a fan of overly mushy vegetables in my stews. The recipe makes a double batch, I like to freeze half for later and it warms up nicely. Serve it with some soda bread and if you’re into that kind of thing, a black and tan. I’m definitely into that kind of thing.
- 4 lb beef stew meat
- 1/4 c all purpose flour
- 2 – 6 oz cans tomato paste
- 2 medium onions, large diced
- 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 – 14.9 oz can Guinness Draught
- 2 – 14.5 oz cans reduced sodium beef broth
- 2 1/2 lbs new potatoes, scrubbed clean
- salt and pepper
- 3 c frozen baby peas, thawed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large, oven safe dutch oven, toss the beef with the flour. Add the tomato past, onions and garlic. Mix Well. Add the bay leaves, broth and beer. Place pot on the stove and turn heat to medium. Bring stew to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once stew is boiling, cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for one hour. After an hour, add the potatoes, nestling them into the stew. Cover and continue to cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until beef is tender and potatoes are cook through.
- Once the stew is finished cooking, remove from oven, take out bay leaves and add peas. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with soda bread.