Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cooking with Guinness on Saint Patty's Day!

When my friend Alicia asked if I would be making something 'deliciously green' for Saint Patty's Day, I knew that I had to step up to the plate. Since Irish food is not my forté, my first thought was to put an Italian spin on a traditional dish. Instead of ham and cabbage, I was thinking broccoli rabe and pancetta. No doubt a delicious combination (and something that I could eat any day of the year), but I wanted it to be a bit more authentic for the occasion. I decided to go back to my St. Patty's day expertise...Guinness beer. 

Like all other stout beers, Guinness can be put to many uses, far beyond the day's toasting beverage of choice. Bernice Torregrossa, of The Galveston County Daily News, gives a perfect description of the many uses of stouts:  "Stout beer, made with darkly roasted barley and malt, is a versatile cooking ingredient. Its fermentation makes it a substitute for yeast in breads, the full-bodied taste adds depth to stews and soups, and the slightly bitter finish intensifies the flavor of chocolate in desserts."

With this in mind, I started to search out Guinness recipes on the web, and with just a few clicks came across, which offers 22 Guinness recipes! The first recipe listed, Gourmet Guinness Burgers with Guinness Barbecue Sauce (courtesy of, jumped out at me immediately. Burgers, which are a standard pub item, married with the flavor of Guinness...perfect!

I followed the recipe, step by step. No doubt, this is a great dish to celebrate the day! The richness of the beer really plays well with the beef, and gives the perfect kick to the sauce. It's the sauce that really blew me away with this burger. Even cooked at medium-well, this was one of the juiciest burgers that I've had in a long time. I would almost put this in a salisbury steak category, served on a toasty bun.

Guinness Burgers (4 burgers)
1 pound minced beef (80% lean, 20% fat)
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup Stout beer (Guinness)
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
2 teaspoons mustard (Coleman’s Mustard)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 burger buns
Toppings: Guinness BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, arugula, tomatoes and red onion

Preheat the grill or pan to medium.

Add beer, olive oil, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper to the beef then lightly mix with a fork. Do not over mix.

Separate the mixture into four portions, then lightly roll each portion into a ball and press down to make a burger patty.

Once preheated, lightly brush the grill with olive oil and place each burger patty down onto the oiled grill. Leave the patties for 4 minutes then flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes or desired doneness (4-5 minutes on each side should be cooked to medium).

Remove the patties from the grill and assemble each burger with desired toppings

Guinness BBQ Sauce (makes about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1/4 cup molasses
1 12 ounce can stout beer (Guinness)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 can tomato puree (small can)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

In a medium saucepan over medium heat add the olive oil and saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.

 Add the molasses, beer, vinegar and tomato puree then stir to combine.

Add all of the spices and allow the sauce to simmer on the stove for about 20-25 minutes until it has reduced into a thick glossy BBQ sauce.

While simmering, keep an eye on the sauce and stir occasionally.

Special thanks to, for allowing me to run their recipe on my blog.

Now that we've finished up with dinner, let's continue with the Guinness celebration as Emma Caperelli Loerky shares with us her recipe for Guinness Ice Cream!

This is the sixth recipe that I've submitted to Cucina Domenico, and the fact that this is the third time I'm using beer as a key ingredient is not lost on me. But St. Patty's Day is upon us and so that is my excuse this time (do we really need an excuse to cook/bake with beer anyway?). Next time I'll try to branch out and use a different type of booze. For now, let's get back to the beer. 

This past summer, after typing Guinness Beer in a Google search, I accidentally discovered that there are a plethora of recipes for ice cream using this dark, malty, bitter beer. I instantly knew I wanted to try it and began to search through the recipes for the one that sounded the most appealing to me. The problem was, I liked something about almost all of them. Some used chocolate as an accompaniment, others used molasses. There were a few that chose to use the beer as the main focus without any additional flavors. 

The recipe that appeared to suit my taste the most was the one taken from here: It had a nice mix of beer and molasses and not too many egg yolks. What it didn't have was chocolate and pretzels, which seemed mandatory in my opinion. I pretty much followed this recipe exactly. The only modifications I made were adding some chocolate covered pretzels at the end of churning my ice cream, omitting the vanilla extract, and, in it's place, using a whole vanilla bean instead of just half. I bought milk chocolate covered pretzels thinking it would make my life a little easier, but, after some thought, I decided to coat them again using dark chocolate. Why? Because I was afraid that if I didn't coat them a second time, they would become mushy once mixed with the ice cream. Well, that and I thought that the dark chocolate would be a nice touch, and it was. The salt on the pretzels made for a nice contrast as well. If this seems too daunting, feel free to skip this step all together. Just bash up some store bought chocolate covered pretzels and be done with it. 

Guinness Ice Cream w/ Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Adapted from The Boston Globe
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup Guinness Stout 
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp molasses
4 egg yolks

About a half cup chocolate covered pretzel pieces 

I modified the way you make the custard using techniques I learned from the book, Frozen Desserts, by Williams-Sonoma. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and 1/2 cup of cream together vigorously until blended.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the stout and molasses. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat. 

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a medium saucepan. Add the bean, milk, sugar and remaining 1/2 cup of cream to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Once the mixture simmers, turn off the heat. 

Temper the yolks by whisking the eggs with one hand while adding about one-fourth of the warm cream mixture in a slow, steady stream. Slowly pour the warmed yolk mixture back into the pan, whisking until well blended. 

Slowly whisk the beer mixture into the cream mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 6 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of the wooden spoon. It should barely come to a simmer. Do not let it come to a boil so as not to curdle the eggs. 

Using a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, strain the custard. 

Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and fill with enough water to just cover the ice cubes. Place the bowl with the custard on top of the larger bowl with the ice cubes. Allow the mixture to cool, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  

Once cooled, remove the custard from the ice-water bath. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard so that a "skin" doesn't form, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. 

According to your ice cream maker's directions, churn the custard, adding the chocolate covered pretzels during the last few minutes.

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