Keto as a Way of Life
Low Carb Beef and Guinness Stew
Beef and Guinness stew is one of those decadent comfort foods that screams St. Patrick’s Day.
How in the world can a stew like that, with Guinness in it no less, be made low carb and still be good?
Well, with some creative substitutions, high quality ingredients, a little technique. and some time/thyme (yes, it takes both!) we created a stew that we’re proud to serve in celebration of dear ould Ireland’s patron saint.
Rebecca and I have visited Ireland a couple times now, and we both fell in love with their beef stew. We used to make Irish stew all the time, using different recipes and variations, but most of those recipes have potatoes, flour and other non-Keto-friendly ingredients. We had to figure out a way to remove the carbs while keeping the spirit of the dish.
The thing we discovered about Irish people is that they like things simple and practical. As we focused on learning more about their food, we found that this philosophy found its way into their recipes.
Make no mistake. Just because a recipe is simple, doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavor, character, or soul. Far from it!
One Irish fellow told us, “If yur goin’ te do a thing…. do it to de best o’ yur ability. Roll yur sleeves up ‘n give it hell.”
When we asked an Irish lady how she got the beef and cabbage so tender in her stew, she just giggled and replied, “Well, we boil de bejesus out of it.”
The ingredients we swapped out for the potatoes and flour may be new to you, but they’re not too far off in left field. We wanted to keep the spirit of Beef and Guinness Stew by making sure it was simple and practical. We feel like it has all the flavor and comfort of the traditional dish we fell in love with in Ireland.
Ingredients – Notes
Pick a sirloin roast. This stew involves a long, slow cooking method, so you don’t need a really expensive cut of meat. Pick a roast that has nice fat marbling throughout. All that fat and connective tissue will break down over the long cooking time (while you boil the bejesus out of it) and it will end up butter tender.
Now Ireland has outstanding beef! They take great care of their cattle, which graze on that rich, green Irish grass. Some of the best beef I’ve ever had in my life was in Ireland.
A close second is the beef that we get from Porter Road. They source their beef from local, Middle TN farmers who genuinely care for their animals. It makes a huge difference.
I mean…. bacon. The Irish call American bacon ‘streaky bacon’. And they call Irish bacon ‘rashers’. Americans might see a rasher as a thin-sliced piece of ham. Whatever it’s called, it’s all good.
For this recipe, I recommend a regular that is just salt cured and smoked. I don’t like using an bacon that has maple or hickory or anything like that added to the flavors. Those don’t blend well in this stew or maintain the traditional flavor that we’re going for here.
When we don’t have access to Irish Bacon, we like to get our bacon from Porter Road.
A Nashville-based business that sources their meat from select local farmers.
They process all their products themselves and sell those products online to make great meat available nationwide.
We were attracted to them at first because they're local to us.
We continue to support Porter Road because their service and products are amazing!
No, beef isn’t exactly Keto. That’s why I didn’t title this post as ‘Keto Beef and Guinness Stew’. We tried to keep it as close to Keto as possible, but there is no substitute for Guinness.
Here’s the thing though…. Guinness has fewer carbs than any other beer outside of a ‘Lite Beer’. Guinness contains 10g carbs per 12 ounce serving, while Lite beers contains 5-7 carbs. Most other beers contain 12-20 or more. Guinness also contains more nutrients than just about any other beer on the market.
Guinness also tastes superior to any other beer out there, but that might just be my opinion.
Of course, with the amount of time this recipe stews, all the alcohol will cook out of it; not that Guinness has a high ABV anyway.
This ingredient is out substitute for potatoes. They have a similar texture, especially after being stewed all day, and they share the potato’s ability to soak up those lovely flavors from the broth as they cook.
A cup of cubed white turnips have 5.7g net carbs, while the same amount of potatoes contains 64.6g net carbs.
You can find white turnips in most grocery stores close to the radishes and parsnips. They are typically a little larger than a golf ball and will require that you peel them with a potato peeler before you dice and cook them in the recipe.
Scallions (or green onions)
Nothing flavors meat like an onion. The only drawback is that white, yellow, and red onions contain about 12g net carbs per cup. Scallions are technically just young onions, so the sugars haven’t fully developed in them. A cup of chopped scallions brings all the flavor of a white onion to the stew, while only adding 4.5 carbs for the same amount.
I’m sure you know what Beef stock is. It’s found in a little box or a can on the grocery store shelf. And while that beef stock is perfectly usable in this recipe, if you really want to ramp up the flavor, you’ll make your own.
Yes, it takes a little extra time and an extra ingredient, but when you taste the rich flavor of the broth, you’ll realize it was worth it.
I won’t get into a lot of details on how to make this here. That’s a different post, and there some great posts already online that describe the process.
The long and short of it is, that you boil some beef bones for several hours. Starting with a full pot of water, put in some beef bones and boil the water down to about half. Remove the bones, strain the water and you have a rich, amazingly delicious beef stock that you can use in your stew, or just to drink when you feel a little hungry.
The great thing about making beef stock like this is that you get a lot of collagen out of the bones. This will help to thicken your Beef and Guinness Stew a little bit.
Beef stock made in this way has a TON of health benefits too!
Kitchen Tools – Notes
You could make this stew in a crock pot (aka, Slow Cooker), and that’s perfectly acceptable.
But this is a rustic, traditional, ‘hearth and home’ style recipe. In my mind, Beef and Guinness Stew requires a cooking vessel that maintains that home-spun spirit.
We used our Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven to get the job done in this recipe but if you prefer to stew your beef in a slow cooker, we’ll include directions for that in the recipe below.
It really isn’t much different.
I just like being able to do all my seering, sauteing and stewing in the same vessel!
Dutch Oven by Lodge
Nothing cooks like cast iron! And Lodge does it right. I'm not just saying that because Lodge is based here in Tennessee....
But I mean, they ARE bases in TN so you know they make a high quality product!
Lodge has been making cast iron cookware since 1896 and some of their first products are STILL being used.
I can't recommend their dutch oven highly enough. It's nice, heavy pot holds heat like non other, and the lid can probably stop bullets. (I've never tested this, but I'm pretty confident this is true)
Thanks for Reading
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Low Carb Beef and Guinness Stew
Enjoy an authentic Irish dish without the guilt. This stew has all the flavor and a fraction of the carbs.
- 3.5 lbs Beef">Beef Shank or Chuck Roast Cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 lbs Bacon Chopped small
- 22.4 oz Guinness Stout That's 2 bottles
- 2 cups Scallions (green onions) Chopped
- 2 cups White Turnips or Parsnips Diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups Carrots Sliced
- 2 cups Beef Stock
- 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
- 1 Sashay Of Dried Herbs Or a Bundle of Fresh
- 3 Leaves Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt Add more to taste
- 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
Sashay or Bundle of Herbs
- 2 tbsp Fried Parsley or 2-3 sprigs of Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
- 2 tbsp Dried Thyme or 2-3 sprigs of Fresh Thyme
NOTE: These instructions assume you are going to do all your cooking in a large, Iron Dutch Oven. If not, simply follow these instructions using a separate skillet for searing and saute, Then use a crock pot to cook your stew in.
Cube the beef and pat it all as dry as possible with a paper towel. Then season all sides of the beef with Pink Himalayan Salt. Let the beef sit on the kitchen counter while you prep the rest of the stew.
Chop the bacon and add it to the Dutch Oven to brown up over medium high heat. When the bacon is starting to get crisp, remove it to a paper towel to drain.
Pour off the bacon fat, reserving enough in the bottom of your Dutch Oven to sear the beef in.
Sear the beef on all sides over medium high heat, at least 30 seconds to a minute per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined bowl to let the fat drain off a bit.
Saute the scallions until the whites are just starting to turn translucent. Then remove to a separate bowl.
Drain any remaining bacon fat from the Dutch Oven, but don't worry about cleaning it all out completely. Leave a little behind for flavor!
Add the Xanthan Gum and Coconut Flour to the Beef Stock. Stir until there are no lumps. This slurry will help thicken the stew a little.
Return the Dutch Oven to the stove and add the beef, veggies, beef stock, and Guinness.
Crock Pot Instruction: If you're using a crock pot, just add everything to the pot here.
Stir everything together and let your stew come to a low boil.
Crock Pot Instruction: Just stir everything together. Don't worry about bringing it to a boil.
Drop in your sashay or dried herbs or your bundle of fresh herbs (whichever you're using), and your bay leaves.
Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Let the whole thing stew for at least 3 hours, stirring every 45 minutes or so.
Crock Pot Instruction: Set temp to high and let the whole thing stew for at least 3 hours.
Before serving, taste the broth for salt. Add a little as needed.
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