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Raise a pint: Guinness in the kitchen

 

Ireland's dark Guinness stout is considered one of the best beers to cook with, adding subtle flavor to appetizers like a cheese fondue, pictured, to stews or decadent desserts.

Ireland's dark Guinness stout is considered one of the best beers to cook with, adding subtle flavor to appetizers like a cheese fondue, pictured, to stews or decadent desserts. Photo by: themerrythought.com

 

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This boule (ball) of bread is filled with a melted butter-garlic-chive mixture and about a 1/3 cup of Guinness before going in the oven.

This boule (ball) of bread is filled with a melted butter-garlic-chive mixture and about a 1/3 cup of Guinness before going in the oven.
Photo by: delish.com

 

Chocolate Guinness cake is a silky-smooth dessert with a cream cheese frosting reminiscent of a foamy head on a pint.

Chocolate Guinness cake is a silky-smooth dessert with a cream cheese frosting reminiscent of a foamy head on a pint.
Photo by: tastefullyjulie.com

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

With St. Patrick's Day approaching, thoughts have drifted to things Irish. Why, even a Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society fundraising "pawty" on March 17 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Zachary's downtown will revel in a whole St. Paddy's vibe. Live music (from 2-7 p.m.), Irish-inspired foods and, yes, green beer, will be available, and donations of supplies or cash for the shelter will be most welcome. 

 

Green beer is an American custom, but bringing it up helps us segue to what many an Irishman (and woman) will be raising come March 17 -- a frothy-topped pint of Guinness. (And that's the near-20-ounce British "imperial" pint, about 4 ounces more than an American pint.) 

 

My one and only close encounter with the dark Irish stout was in a boistrously happy pub in Dingle -- Daingean Ui Chuis -- a small port town in County Kerry, on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. This Mississippi teetotaler was surrounded by friends more adventurous, so when our server brought them the legendary dark brew in glasses holding what looked to be enough to float an Irish sheep or two, I sampled. Ireland's famous drink dating back to the 1700s is robust, bold and uniquely "burnt," thanks to its roasted barley. And it's touted as one of the best beers in the world to cook everything from beer-battered fish to brownies with. 

 

"Guinness has that sweet maltiness that cooking just enhances, and it goes particularly well with chocolate, sort of like coffee," said food writer Ashley Martell at foodal.com. 

 

It can also add a warm depth, a subtle complexity to everything from gumbo to ice cream, American-Statesman food writer Addie Broyles has stated. 

 

With a nod to an ancient, beautiful and still mysterious Ireland, here are a few introductory recipes that call for Guinness -- plus a recipe for an Irish grilled cheese, just because it sounds like such easy way to turn an everyday staple into something with a bit o'flair. 

 

 

 

GUINNESS CHEESE FONDUE 

 

 

 

2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (Irish cheese, if can, such as Kerrygold Vintage Dubliner & Kerrygold Skellig) 

 

2 tablespoons flour 

 

1 1/2 tablespoons butter 

 

1 clove garlic, minced 

 

1/4 cup Guinness beer 

 

1/4 cup milk 

 

Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste 

 

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 

 

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 

 

Pinch or two of cayenne pepper 

 

Vegetables and bread for dipping 

 

 

 

  • Shred the cheese. Toss the shredded cheese with the flour and set aside. 

     

  • In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add garlic, stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in the beer, milk, salt, pepper, Worcestshire sauce, mustard and cayenne pepper.  

     

  • Bring to a low boil (you may need to turn up the heat a bit), stirring constantly. Over low heat, gradually add in the cheese/flour mixture, stirring until cheese is completely melted before adding more (add about a small handful at a time). If needed, thin the cheese with a little more beer or milk. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired.  

     

  • Transfer cheese to a fondue pot and keep warm (or serve immediately in the saucepan, reheating over low heat as needed). 

     

  • Lightly steam any veggies that need to be cooked (such as potatoes and Brussels sprouts). Arrange veggies and bread on a platter and serve with cheese. 

     

    (Source: themerrythought.com) 

     

     

     

    CHEESY GUINNESS BREAD 

     

     

     

    1 large boule of bread 

     

    1 stick butter, melted 

     

    3 cloves garlic, minced 

     

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 

     

    1/3 cup Guinness 

     

    2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar 

     

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.  

     

  • Using a serrated knife, crosshatch the boule, making slices every inch around the loaf in both directions. 

     

  • In a small bowl, stir together melted butter, garlic and chives. Brush entire boule with butter, being sure to get into crevices.  

     

  • Pour Guinness between crevices. Stuff crevices with cheddar and wrap completely in foil. 

     

  • Bake for 20 minutes, then unwrap foil and bake 10 minutes more. (Put oven on broil the last few minutes if you want it golden brown.) Serve immediately. 

     

    (Source: delish.com) 

     

     

     

    CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE 

     

    Makes 12 servings  

     

    Prep time: 25 minutes 

     

    Bake time: 45 minutes 

     

     

     

    1 cup Guinness dark beer 

     

    1/2 cup butter, cubed 

     

    2 cups sugar 

     

    3/4 cup baking cocoa 

     

    2 eggs, beaten 

     

    2/3 cup sour cream 

     

    3 teaspoons vanilla extract 

     

    2 cups all-purpose flour 

     

    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

     

     

     

    For the topping: 

     

    1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened 

     

    1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 

     

    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 

     

     

     

  • Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper; set aside. 

     

  • In a small saucepan, heat beer and butter until butter is melted. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and cocoa until blended. 

     

  • Combine the eggs, sour cream and vanilla; whisk into beer mixture. Combine flour and baking soda; whisk into beer mixture until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. 

     

  • Bake at 350 F. for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Remove sides of pan. 

     

  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and cream; beat until smooth (do not over-beat). n Remove cake from the pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake so that it resembles a frothy pint of beer. Refrigerate leftovers.  

     

    (Source: tasteofhome.com. Originally published as Chocolate Guinness Cake in Country Woman February/March 2011) 

     

     

     

    IRISH GRILLED CHEESE  

     

    Prep time: 10 minutes 

     

    Cook time: 10 minutes 

     

     

     

    4 tablespoons softened butter 

     

    2 tablespoons chopped parsley 

     

    2 tablespoons scallions 

     

    2 tablespoons chives 

     

    8 slices white bread 

     

    Sliced Irish cheddar cheese 

     

    Bread and butter pickles 

     

     

     

  • Mash 4 tablespoons softened butter with 2 tablespoons each chopped parsley, scallions and chives. 

     

  • Spread the mixture on 4 slices white bread; top each with sliced Irish cheddar cheese and bread-and-butter pickles. Cover with 4 more bread slices. 

     

  • Spread plain butter on the outside of the sandwiches and fry in a skillet until golden on both sides. Spread the remaining herb butter on the warm sandwiches. Slice into quarters, then press the cut sides in more chopped herbs. 

     

    (Source: foodnetwork.com)

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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