Observations on 20 March 2020 & Guinness Beef Stew 📍

Here’s another atypical topical post – a letter from the editor. It’s really a public diary post, but with a recipe for sharing because I like cooking with beer.

Mmm, Guinness Beef Stew - It's a classic for a reason. Here's my recipe with a public diary entry. #instantpot #guinness #pandemiccooking

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Dear Diary,

It’s been one hell of a month already. We were all watching a certain coronavirus run towards us for a few weeks, then we got full on bamboozled.

Earlier this month I was buying things like normal, and apparently got lucky to buy toilet paper and baby wipes before the hoarders got to them. It is so odd to feel lucky about this at all, but now we live in a weird world of doomsday prepping and price gouging.

Then the grocery store shelves started to get bare real fast. I still shop once a week for our groceries, but now it’s a speedy evening solo run instead of pleasant afternoon stroll with the toddler. There’s no telling what foods will be available, so menu planning is out, and now I just grab one or two things from each aisle and work it out later.

My last grocery run was good; I found most of what I wanted. Pasta and beans are mostly sold out, so I’m thinking about buying a $100 pasta attachment for my KitchenAid Mixer because making fettuccini is easier than buying it. Oh – another bartering opportunity!
Regardless, I couldn’t find red beans to cook with the andouille in the fridge, so red beans and rice are off the menu. However I did get a porterhouse steak and fresh mushrooms, so we’ll have steak & risotto instead.

What an odd intersection of feast & famine.
You would think that we have a food or material shortage – but we don’t. The issue isn’t in the supply chains either. The problem is people buying more than they need, and robbing others of basics. I probably could find beans and pasta in town, but my style of social distancing allows one grocery store trip each week – so I don’t hunt around. Also I’m too lazy to search Central Arkansas for dry beans when I can hang out with my husband. I’m only going to worry when I can’t buy milk for Baby Jupiter.

Social Distancing
We’re not under official quarantine, but we are social distancing because that’s what everyone else is doing. Baby Jup and I don’t keep a busy social calendar…but we’re intentionally staying in anyway. No joyrides to Starbucks. No browsing the BX for fun. No zoo (it’s closed anyway).

The past few days have been weirdly warm, low 70s after dinner, so we’ve been going on walks in the neighborhood. Usually we take our dogs, but haven’t lately because everyone else is outside too! It’s interesting how local social distancing efforts relax after 6pm. Neighbors gather to chat in driveways, parents stroll with babes, and dogs stretch their legs. We don’t get closer than six feet, but we’ve talked more to our neighbors since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic than in the first eight months that we have lived here.

General Thoughts
Now we just wait to see what new thing happens each day. How many new cases, new deaths, new lockdowns. California is on hold, and the airlines stopped hiring. I’m extra curious about these economic relief checks. If I receive dollars I want to buy things from people and businesses that I like supporting, but I’m afraid that we’ll need the relief to pay mortgages if our renter’s can’t pay rent.

Last night I told Mister Jupiter that it feels like we finally got the Y2K disaster we braced for in 1999, but since it arrived twenty years late we weren’t ready for it.

Odd times overall. But hey! I promised you a recipe – so here’s what we had for dinner after Saint Patrick’s day (I forgot to buy Guinness sooner, hence the delay).

Mmm, Guinness Beef Stew - It's a classic for a reason. Here's my recipe with a public diary entry. #instantpot #guinness #pandemiccookingInstant Pot Guinness Beef Stew

  • 1.5lbs beef stew meat
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil or ghee for sautéing
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 can Guinness Stout
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 carrots, chopped (approx 2 heaping cups)
  • 2 potatoes, chopped (approx 2 heaping cups)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste, heaping
  • 1 cup beef broth (I use 1 tsp Better Than Bullion Paste with 8oz water)
  • Optional bay leaf
  1. Start sautéing onions in Instant Pot
  2. Lightly season beef, then sear beef under broiler while onion cooks.
    A few minutes is all to get a few crisp edges, mostly raw is fine!
    (Searing is optional – it’s great for texture but not a requirement)
  3. When onions are translucent, add garlic to instant pot, stir continuously
  4. When fragrant, add beef (seared or raw), stir well to combine
  5. Pour Guinness into Instant pot.
    Either cover beef or fill to the 4 cup line – your pick
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf if you like
  7. Seal lid, and change cooking mode to manual high pressure for 30 minutes
  8. Wait for natural pressure release (can be kept warm here for a while)
  9. Remove lid, stir in tomato paste, beef broth, potatoes, and carrots
  10. Seal lid, cook on manual high pressure for four minutes
  11. Quick pressure release, stir and serve!

The leftovers are fabulous, and Mister Jupiter likes his served with brown rice. I take it easy on the rice because I don’t like eating too many starches in one meal, but a few bites are still welcome. If you can’t source Guinness – any plain stout, brown ale, or maybe an mellow amber can substitute. Beef broth can definitely be used, but do NOT use hoppy or citrus beers. Think smooth and hearty. Enjoy!

Mmm, Guinness Beef Stew - It's a classic for a reason. Here's my recipe with a public diary entry. #instantpot #guinness #pandemiccooking  Mmm, Guinness Beef Stew - It's a classic for a reason. Here's my recipe with a public diary entry. #instantpot #guinness #pandemiccooking

Author: Tracey

Tracey has a bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She loves editing, riding bikes, and cooking for her family.

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