Of all the recipes I bookmarked over the weekend, I was most anxious to try the Beef and Guinness Stew. Unfortunately, when I went to the store to pick up the ingredients, I found that they only sell Guinness in six packs. I admit this makes sense because people normally drink their beer. But neither Sweetie nor I drink beer, or any other kind of alcohol, so unless I loved the recipe so much that I planned to make it 6 times in the near future (with 8 servings per batch), it didn't make sense for me. So no Guinness. Which is probably why this great potential fall staple turned into a Fail Stew.
Oh, it looked gorgeous. And the meat was deliciously tender, it smelled delicious while cooking, and the flavor was quite nice, if not particularly special. But without the Guinness, there was nothing to disguise the flavor of this thing:
A turnip. I had never eaten turnips before. It wasn't until I cut into it and smelled it that it occurred to me this vegetable is part of the mustards (or cabbage) family, very closely related to radishes. And I hate radishes. The pithy part is fine, but the skin is bitter. So when I ate this bowl last night...
...I hated half of it. The turnip half. Parsnips, carrots, beef, sauce, all good. But the turnip ruined it for me. Maybe it wouldn't have if the soup didn't take 3 hours to make. If I'm going to invest that much time into hovering, stirring, and adjusting temperatures, I'd better love every bite of that stew, doggone it.
I loved a few things about this recipe that have made me consider trying again--with potatoes instead. For one thing, it uses caraway seeds, which are my absolute favorite savory spice (it also makes rye bread the perfect accompaniment, and I love rye bread). For another, the cooking method, though tedious, resulted in the perfect falling-apart-but-still-chewy texture of meat.
I'm not sure what to do about the Guinness, though. I just substituted water in this first-go-round, but I'm sure that gave the final result less depth than it should have had. Any suggestions for substitutes?