From the Beer Wench's Kitchen
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McGuire's Traditional Irish Stew

By K. Allen


Article Originally Published in Southern Brew News

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From the Beer Wench’s Kitchen
McGuire’s Irish Pub and Brewery


    White powder sand beaches, sunny skies, warm weather, and light beer.  That has always been my view of vacation destinations in the Florida panhandle. I’ve always loved the beach but finding a good beer can be a challenge.   It’s not a challenge in Destin, Florida. Having recently visited Destin, I was pleasantly surprised. The beaches were beautiful. There were some good restaurants with character, not just chains, and it’s the home of one of the locations of McGuire’s Irish Pub.  NOTE: Be sure to view the additional videos of the Beer Wench at McGuires at the bottom of this page.

    McGuire’s is located at 33 Hwy 98, Destin, Florida, and it isn’t your average Irish pub. It’s a brewpub where brewers Tom and Gary create a wonderful array of regular and seasonal brews. Included in this lineup is their IPA-Irish Pale Ale standing currently as the Beer Wench’s favorite, but all the brews are good. The fare is a mixture of traditional Irish as well as pub grub and delectable originals.

    On the Saturday night that I was there recently, the Irish music was lively and the joint was jumping.  They also have a beautiful deck on which to catch a view and brew.  Among the McGuire’s traditions are the signing and posting of dollar bills (I got to put one in an honored spot in the brew house.) and kissing the moose (Yes, of course I did.). Go yourself and find out.  If you want more information, visit www.mcguiresirishpub.com. The other and original location is in Pensacola.

    Among one of the Irish recipes is their Traditional Irish Stew with Roasted Root Vegetables. The beer pairing of choice is McGuire’s Irish Red Ale. It is the flagship brew and the most popular.  According to the beer sampler menu “Beer gurus Michael Jackson and Fred Eckhardt have both praised its smooth and malty character.” At five percent alcohol by volume, it may become your favorite session beer.


The Recipe
Traditional Irish Stew with Roasted Root Vegetables

“A much-maligned dish, Irish stew can mean anything from leftover beef swimming in a heavy gravy to whatever the “perpetrator” would like to mean.  In, this version, lamb is lovingly seasoned and simmered in beer with vegetables.  The result is a dish of tender, garlicky lamb and vegetables.”

2 lbs lamb shanks
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, slivered
4 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
10 cups beef broth
3 bleached all-purpose flour
1 cup Irish stout
2 tbsp olive oil
10 small red potatoes (about 1lb)-peeled and halved
2 medium yellow onions, quartered
2 large turnips (about 8 oz)-peeled and cubed   
3 ribs celery, cut into 1/2” thick slices
4 parsnips (about 4 oz)-peeled and cubed
4 carrots cut into 1/2” thick slices
1/4 cup water

1. Trim all visible fat from the lamb.  Cut slits in the meat and insert garlic slivers.
2. Season the lamb with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and dust with 1 tbsp flour.
3. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy deep pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add shanks to the pot and cook, turning to brown evenly, for about 10 minutes.
4. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and remaining salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, and tomato paste, stirring to mix. Cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add the broth and stout and stir to mix.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cover.  Cook until the meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
6. When lamb is tender, remove it from its cooking liquid and reserve the liquid or stock.  Remove the meat from the bone, cutting it into 1” cubes.  Some of the meat will probably fall off the bones, and that’s okay.  Set aside.
7. Add the potatoes, turnips and  parsnips to the stock and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are fork tender, about 30 minutes.  Dissolve remaining flour in the water and add to the stew, stirring to blend.
8. Add the meat back to the stew.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Remove the bay leaves.
9. Serve the stew in deep bowls and accompany with Irish Soda Bread.

Serves 8.

“Many believe that Irish stew is made with beef, but lamb stew is actually the national dish of Ireland.”

    If the recipe sounds delicious, but you don’t feel like cooking, take a trip to McGuire’s.  I guarantee that they will treat you well. Hugs and kisses to Tom and Gary and thanks for having us. Also, check out my website (beerwench.com)  for a video of McGuire’s and tour of the brewery.  Remember to eat well and drink good beer.




Click the video to see the Beer Wench post a dollar bill at McGuires!



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