Plenty of folks will be raising a glass of Guinness black stout this weekend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
But chefs have discovered the malty brew from the Emerald Isle as a cooking ingredient in a variety of dishes from appetizers to desserts.
In her 2012 cookbook, Irish Traditional Cooking, (Kyle Books, $35 hardcover) author Darina Allen, who operates Ireland’s Ballymaloe Cookery School, notes how the centuries-old black stout is being used increasingly in cooking in modern Irish cuisine.
U.S. chefs who create pub or bistro-style fare also have discovered its usefulness.
Chef Dino Reed, of Akron’s Office Bistro, said he will use Guinness as a reduction for dishes like rack of lamb.
Reed seasons the lamb with an herb crust or stone ground mustard, and then uses Guinness reduced with butter, to create a demi-glace for the dish. Guinness works well because of its full-bodied mouthfeel that pairs with a number of dishes, even desserts, he noted.
In a similar way, Allen uses Guinness as the liquid for a hearty beef stew, instead of a red wine or beef stock. She writes in her book that Guinness “is a tasty addition to stews and casseroles, helping to tenderize the meat and imparting its distinctive malty flavor to any dish.”
At Great Harvest Bread in Copley Township, bakers will be flavoring loaves of bread with malty Guinness and Gouda cheese, in a seasonal take on beer cheese bread to be sold on Saturday.
Owner Kim Hannon said she uses warmed Guinness instead of warm water as the liquid in her bread along with the yeast and flour: “It raises perfectly. It’s literally just like using water,” she said.
Hannon said the stout adds a smoky flavor to the bread, which is enhanced by the use of smoked Gouda cheese and whole wheat flour.
“It’s a pretty hearty bread. Unfortunately, you can’t get drunk on it,” she said, adding that the bread pairs well with a hearty meal like beef stew.
Reed said Guinness goes well with desserts too, not just savory dishes, including chocolate- or coffee-based sweets. “It pairs really well with chocolate,” he said.
For the Office Bistro Akron baker Mary Hospodarsky (www.sweetmarysbakery.com) is creating a Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream cupcake that will be featured on the dessert menu.
Office Bistro beverage manager Anthony Mandala said another traditional dessert is using Guinness as an ice cream float. The Office has a float made with house-made maple butter pecan ice cream floated in Oskar Blue’s Ten FIDY imperial stout, that comes garnished with pepper bacon.
Mandala said the float could easily be made with Guinness or Guinness’ Russian imperial stout, which has a stronger espresso flavor that would pair well with the buttery maple ice cream.
For a more traditional float, simply use vanilla or chocolate ice cream in Guinness for an even more decadent way to raise a pint to toast St. Patrick.
BEEF AND GUINNESS STEW
2 lbs. lean stewing beef
3 tbsp. oil or drippings
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne
2 large onions (about 10 oz.) coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp. tomato paste, dissolved in 4 tbsp. water
1¼ cups Guinness
¾ cup carrots, cut into chunks
Sprig of thyme
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Trim the meat of any fat or gristle. Cut into 2-inch cubes and toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season the flour with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch or two of cayenne. Toss the meat in this mixture.
Heat the remaining oil or drippings in a wide skillet on a high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Add the onions, crushed garlic, and tomato paste to the pan, cover, and cook gently for about 5 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole, and pour some of the Guinness into the skillet. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan. Pour onto the meat with the remaining Guinness, and the carrots and the thyme. Stir, taste and add a little more salt if necessary.
Cover with the lid of the casserole and simmer, very gently, until the meat is tender — 2 hours. The stew may be cooked on top of the stove or in a low oven at 300 degrees. Taste and correct the seasoning.
Scatter some chopped parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, cabbage and potatoes, or plain boiled potatoes.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
— Irish Traditional Cooking, Darina Allen
GREEN APPLE GUINNESS MELT
1 baguette, cut into thirds, then each piece cut lengthwise in half (6 pieces total)
2½ tbsp. salted butter
2½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 oz. dry stout, such as Guinness
14 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored and cut crosswise into ⅛-inch thick slices
Turn broiler to high and set a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Arrange the baguette pieces, cut side down, on the sheet and broil until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the pieces over, and use your fingers to scoop out enough bread to make a channel in the center of each piece. Leave baguette slices, un-toasted side up, on the tray.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until bubbling and golden brown. Add flour and whisk it in until the mixture is smooth and chestnut brown. Add the beer and whisk until smooth, then reduce heat to medium and continue stirring until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to low and add cheese, mustard and Worcestershire, stirring continuously until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon a generous amount of cheese sauce into each baguette piece. Lay a few overlapping apple slices over the cheese, then transfer to the oven and broil until browned and bubbling, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
— U.S. Apple Association
2 to 3 scoops vanilla or chocolate ice cream
1 bottle of Guinness Extra Stout or Guinness Russian Imperial Stout
Scoop ice cream into tall soda glass. Pour beer over ice cream to top of glass.
Makes 1 float.
— Adapted from Office Bistro, Dino Reed and Anthony Mandala