Beef, Beer, and Love


Looking for festive St. Patty’s breakfast fare? Try our Green Eggs and Ham menu!

When I think of cooking with booze, my mind immediately goes to my mother’s beer beef stew. I grew up eating it, my first bite at an age so green I hadn’t yet uttered the word booze or learned that the Irish (my mother’s ancestors) were famous for consuming it. Her stew actually isn’t Irish in origin, it’s French, similar to Julia Child’s Carbonnade. And though it involves beer, it’s also one of the best ways to get someone in bed without getting him or her drunk.

The stew I refer to, which inspired the short rib recipe at hand, is discussed at length in the dating section of our book (now available for pre-order on Amazon!), and has developed some lore (Irish or otherwise) among my friend group.  In the book, I talk about how it was the first dish that I made for my ex-boyfriend Will at the beginning of our relationship, and how it became the first dish ever that I successfully executed the first time I’ve cooked for a romantic interest.

My other love, Cara, requested it for her birthday this past October, and it became the centerpiece of the spread I cooked up. One relationship later, Josh and I happened to be going on our second date for coffee while the birthday stew baked in the oven, and the date went so well that he came upstairs and stayed for the whole party. So, as it happened, this beer beef stew was also the first dish that I cooked for Josh.

A few months later, my friend Wendy asked for the stew recipe that she had tasted at Cara’s, and made it for her monthly “girls night” dinner. I told the story of how the dish had inadvertently become the center of my love life. The girls officially dubbed it: “Make-Him-Say-I-Love-You Beef Stew.”

The Beer Beef Stew featured in our book, In The Small Kitchen.

Not to be a tease or anything, but you’ll have to buy the book to see if you are affected by this stew’s side effects. For now though, in celebration of the Irish and their booze, I am giving you a similar recipe using Guinness as the beer and short ribs as the beef, with a few accents I stole from this chicken recipe.

I recommend you give the short ribs a whirl as part of your St. Patty’s Day dinner menu, though if they manage to land you a man, please consider your non-stew booze intake if when you wake up in bed the next morning you find he is uglier than he was the night before.

From my kitchen, where I’m writing my new novel, The Sisterhood of Traveling Stew, to yours,



Stout-Braised Short Ribs with Soy and Honey
Makes 2 servings

2 pounds bone-in short ribs
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
12 ounces Guinness (or other stout)
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup amber honey
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium Dutch or oven-proof saucepan with a tight fitting lid over a high flame. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Brown the short ribs on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside. Pour out the fat, leaving just a thin layer.

Return the heat to medium-low and add the onions. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the stout, stock, honey, and soy. Put the short ribs back in. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook in the oven for 2 to 2 and a half hours, until the meat is very tender, but not falling off the bone. Remove the short ribs to a platter or plate. Spoon some of the oil off the top, and taste the sauce for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the ribs, and serve.

Posted in: Cooking for Others
  • Kasey

    Just discovered your site – wow, love! These ribs look a great Saturday night to me.

  • Frankie

    If that Make-Him-Say-I-Love-You Stew really works I know just who to cook it for. Just pre-ordered your bookk – can’t wait!

  • Brenda

    What do you ladies suggest serving with this dish? Looks delicious!

    • John

      Not a Lady but go for Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Broccolli with Sour Dough Rolls and for Dessert how about a Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding and Vanilla Ice Cream Tiopping. Don’t forget the Rich Coffee to go with it.

  • Frankie

    Brenda, I just tried the recipe last night and served it on egg noodles. Much appreciated by the man in question.

  • Kelly van der Vaart

    I just received the cookbook as a just-because gift from my best friend (who also loves to cook), and the first thing I made was this beer beef stew with the mashed potatoes & caramelized onions … it was delicious & my husband agrees!! He devoured it :) 

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  • Questor

    Looks great, but it didn’t work for me. I set the meat aside, sauteed the onions and garlic, and then I followed the instructions EXACTLY, they said, “Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the stout, stock,
    honey, and soy. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook in the oven for 2 to
    2 and a half hours, until the meat is very tender…” but the meat I set aside never got tender. In fact it never cooked. I guess I should have added it with the stout, stock, honey and soy. (Just joshing.) Great recipe and a small technical error in the instructions that requires a little interpretation. (Very little)

    • BGSK

      Ha! Thanks for the correction – I’ll make the update. Super glad you figured it all out!

  • Kim

    Ahhh I hope I can get a response even though this hasn’t been commented on in a year…

    How do I adjust the cooking time for boneless beef short ribs?

    • Cara

      Should be pretty much the same, you might be able to cut off 30 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

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