pexels juan pablo serrano arenas 1587830St. Patrick's Day presents the perfect opportunity to try authentic Irish cuisine as well as foods and beverages that have become associated strictly with the holiday (like green beer). It is likely someone you know will be cooking corned beef and cabbage this St. Patrick's Day. But what if you are among those who just doesn't fancy the salted and pickled flavoring of this familiar favorite?

"Zesty Braised Beef with New Potatoes" isn't exactly corned beef, but it can be a worthy alternative. It is warm, filling, and flavorful, and can be just the thing to eat on a chilly March day. What's more, this rich beef can pair well with a dark stout like Guinness. Enjoy this recipe, courtesy of "The Healthy Slow Cooker" (Robert Rose) by Judith Finlayson.

Zesty Braised Beef with New Potatoes, Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 ounces chunk pancetta, preferably hot pancetta, diced
2 pounds trimmed stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 pounds small new potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced (about 30 tiny ones)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, dissolved in 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves.

Method:
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring, until nicely browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware (3.5 to 5 quart sized).
2. Add beef to skillet, in batches, and cook, stirring until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to stoneware as completed.
3. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil and boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan for 2 minutes. Add stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Transfer to stoneware. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until potatoes are tender. Stir in cayenne solution. Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes.

Transfer to a server dish and garnish with parsley. Serve with a big platter of roasted carrots.

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