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Beef and Guinness Stew with Cheesy Potato Topping


The Blue Fish Restaurant in Grand Falls-Windsor, NL. Photo courtesy of Whitecap Books

We made gallons of this stew at The Blue Fish. In our family, it is still the ultimate winter comfort food. I often double the recipe then freeze it in single-serving batches. Another plus with this stew is it can be made ahead, refrigerated and reheated before adding the potato topping. I like to serve this stew in individual ovenproof bowls with the potato topping nicely browned and steam wafting from underneath its crown of deliciousness.

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Recipe courtesy of Elaine Feore and Joanne Goudie, Storm the Kettle: Resetting the Newfoundland Table


For the stew
  • 2 lb (900 g) good-quality stewing beef
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) small diced onion
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) small diced turnip
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) small diced carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1¼ cups (310 mL) Guinness stout
  • 3 cups (750 mL) salt-free beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
For the cheesy potato topping
  • 2 lb (900 g) boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • ⅓ cup (80 mL) small diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sour cream
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded Irish cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Trim beef of any excess fat. Pat dry with paper towels. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place beef cubes in flour mixture and stir to coat. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed large oven casserole with a lid. Sear beef in small batches over medium heat. Remove to a bowl until all beef has been browned. Add onion, turnip, carrots and garlic to casserole. Combine mixture and heat for 2–3 minutes. Add Guinness and scrape bottom of casserole to loosen all browned bits. Return beef cubes to casserole. Increase to medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Add beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and thyme. Combine and bring to a boil again for another 5 minutes. Cover casserole and place in oven. Cook for 2½–3 hours, until beef is tender.
  3. Cheesy potato topping While stew is cooking, place potatoes in large saucepan, cover with water, add salt and boil until tender. While potatoes are cooking, sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Set aside. When potatoes are tender, drain well and mash. Add butter and continue to mash until creamy, then stir in sour cream and reserved onions. Add shredded Irish cheddar and mix. Heat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  4. Put hot stew in individual ovenproof bowls. Divide and spread cheesy mashed potatoes over the stew. Place on a baking sheet and bake until potatoes just start to brown, about 10 minutes.

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