Crain’s Chicago Business reported today (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140122/NEWS0702/140129913/gage-owner-celebrity-chef-cooking-up-plans-for-block-37) that the Lawless family (the Gage, Henri) has leased space on the ground floor of in Block 37 on the high profile corner of Randolph and Dearborn Streets in Chicago’s Loop. A news release issued by CIM real estate group said “the Lawless Family is developing a stylish, beautifully designed restaurant complemented by a sophisticated bar within a 5,500-square-foot space that is being transformed into an inviting, distinctive dining spot and gathering place.”
The Lawless family hails from Galway where they owned and operated several well known pubs and restaurants including Gallows Prospect Hill, Taaffe’s Shop Street, Trigger Martyns (now Tigh Coilin) and The Twelve Pins. The family owns the Gage bar and restaurant and neighboring restaurant Henri across from Millenium Park in Chicago. Billy Lawless, Jr. is a constant, genial host at the always packed Gage. Dad Billy, Sr. is a prominent activist for immigrants’ rights.
Set your Tivos, Chicago PBS station WYCC (Channel 20) is now airing Irish celebrity TV chef Neven Maguire’s show “Home Chef” every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Maguire is the chef and owner of one of Ireland’s top restaurants Macnean House located in the rural village of Black Lion, Co. Cavan http://macneanrestaurant.com/and hosts the popular TV show on RTE, Ireland’s national TV network. Nevin trained in some of the top restaurants in the world and came home to turn a family business into a culinary destination. (Full disclosure, my grandmother Sheila (aka Julia) McGovern was from Dowra, Co. Cavan, so I am familiar with the area. I can attest that it is a most unlikely spot for one of the most talked about restaurants in Ireland. )
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 lbs. boneless, good quality stewing beef, such as boneless chuck, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. Flour
- ½ cup Guinness
- ½ cup beef broth
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into circles
- 2 celery stalks, washed and chopped
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 300 Fahrenheit.
- Season the beef pieces on all sides with salt and pepper.
- In a dutch oven or other heavy oven safe pot, heat oil. Add the bay leaves, cover the pot because the bay leaves will jump and splatter. Cook for a minute or two, then add the beef.
- Cook beef until pieces are brown on each side, then add the garlic and onion. Cook until they gently color to pale gold.
- Sprinkle the flour over the beef, onion and garlic. Stir and let it brown. Then add the Guinness and broth to just cover the meat. Add the carrots, celery, tomato paste and parsley. Stir, cover the pot and braise in the oven for about two hours until the beef is tender. Check on the stew after an hour, stir and add more liquid if necessary.
- Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.
I’ve been hibernating the last couple of days due to nasty winter weather here in Chicago — relentless snow began falling Saturday and didn’t give up until late Sunday afternoon, followed by brutally low temperatures today (a daytime high of minus 14 Fahrenheit with a recordbreaking windchill of minus 40.) We are experiencing a “polar vortex” according to the TV weatherman.
I live in on the third floor of a 1920’s building with a bay window overlooking a tree-lined street. On snowy afternoons it’s quite beautiful here in my tree house looking out at the falling snow and the frosted branches. In this kind of weather I crave something comforting and hearty. Since the weather forced me to stay indoors I turned necessity into pleasure by spending Sunday afternoon cooking this delicious braised beef stew with Guinness.It’s really good and just what you want on a frigid January evening. It’s based on a recipe from Irish food writer Theodora FitzGibbon’s 1968 cookbook “A Taste of Ireland in Food and in Pictures.” She writes that nineteenth century cooks added prunes stuffed with grilled hazlenuts to the stew an hour before the meat was tender. I ate mine with champ, that is, mashed potatoes with scallions softened in cream.
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