I wish I had a great lake of ale for the King of kings, and the family of heaven to drink it through time eternal. I wish I had the meats of belief and genuine piety, the flails of penance, and the men of heaven in my house. ~ St. Brigid of Ireland
St. Brigid is the patron saint for numerous things including cattle and dairy work. She was said to be the best mead and ale maker in all of Ireland, as well as an excellent cook. One way to celebrate this Abbess from Kildare is to enjoy a steaming bowl of Irish Beef stew… made with Ireland’s own Guinness Draught!
Many miracles have been attributed to St. Brigid that involve physical healing. Another great recipe to serve on her feast day is the following nourishing and delicious Hearty Healing Beef Stew adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks The Healing Kitchen: 175+ Quick & Easy Paleo Recipes to Help You Thrive. I love beef stew and finally have a new favorite (grain and nightshade free!) recipe to replace my old favorite which is no longer on the list of foods I can eat.
Hearty Healing Beef Stew
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3-4 pounds beef stew meat
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (This time I used 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick (I am out so I used 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 2 (1-inch) pieces fresh orange peel
- 8 cups Beef Broth
- 1 - 15 oz can Sweet Potato Puree
- 1 cup red wine
- 8-10 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (the first time I used 1 bag of Trader Joe's Carrots of Many Colors)
- 1 head of celery, chopped
- 1-2 bunches of kale, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meat, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and brown on all sides for 8-10 minutes total, but avoid getting a crust on the outside. (Make sure you scrape up all those caramelized brown bits from the bottom of your pot to give your stew a deep, rich flavor!)
Stir in the onion, thyme, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, orange peel, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the broth, sweet potato puree, and wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook for 1 hour.
Add the carrots and celery to the pot and return the stew to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 40 minutes. Add the chopped kale, submerging it in the liquid, and cook for 25 more minutes, until wilted and tender.
Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and orange peel before serving.
Prayer to St. Brigid of Ireland
You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
And may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
Brigid's Cloak, The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare, and Saint Brigid and the Cows (not pictured)
St. Brigid Doll from Catholic Folk Toys
You can find additional recipes and ideas for celebrating the feast of St. Brigid in the archives here at Catholic Cuisine and over at Shower of Roses.