Wine Wednesday: Beer makes it better on St. Patrick’s Day

Oh there are so many fabulous beers that will be consumed on St. Patrick’s day but what if you wanted to have a party at your house and invite some guests over?  Do you know what beers to pair with food that is ‘traditionally’ eaten on St. Patrick’s Day?

Guinness may be as dark as a moonless midnight, but the ale’s low alcohol content puts it on par with Coors Light. The stout’s luscious, creamy head and mouth feel come courtesy of nitrogen: The dissolved gas creates smaller bubbles than does carbon dioxide, resulting in the trademark pillowy foam. Flavor-wise, Guinness tastes a tad bittersweet, with appealing notes of roasted coffee and chocolate. It’s like drinking liquid silk.

Sheppard’s Pie

1-tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

1-pound ground lamb (or substitute half with another ground meat)

1-cup beef or chicken broth

1-tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

1 cup frozen peas

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2-cup milk (any fat content)

Kosher salt to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the onion, carrot, and meat. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Drain the fat and add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes, then add the peas.

4. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish; set aside.

5. Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain.

6. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk, and salt.

7. Spread them over the meat mixture, then crosshatch the top with a fork.

8. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Tip • Instead of using a baking dish for the Shepherd’s Pie, keep the filling in the (ovenproof) sauté pan in which you cook it, top with the crust, and bake it all in the oven for a skillet version that won’t dirty another dish.

Guinness Stout Ginger Cake

1 cup Guinness stout

1-cup molasses

1/2-tablespoon baking soda

3 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3/4-cup grapeseed or vegetable oil

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4-teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4-teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8-teaspoon ground cardamom

1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh gingerroot


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- X 5-inch loaf pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment, and grease the parchment. Alternatively, butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.

2. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Allow to sit until the foam dissipates.

3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the oil.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.

5. Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, half at a time. Add the fresh ginger and stir to combine.

6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done, or the center may fall slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Porterhouse Wrasslers XXXX Stout

Honestly, I can’t begin to count how many craft beers there are, yet creating them didn’t start in the US.  One of my favorite international brews is from Ireland and one they consider a standout.  Porterhouse has a fruity Porterhouse Red, briny Oyster Stout, and, my personal favorite, the big-bodied Wrasslers XXXX. If you like a beer with a lot of hoppy bitterness, look no further. Wrasslers is dry but balanced, with flavors led by espresso, baking chocolate, and gobs of roasted malt.

For pot roast

1/2-cup canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 pounds boneless short ribs, denuded (all surface fat removed; have your butcher do this)

1 cup dry sherry

4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped

8 stalks celery, peeled and roughly chopped

8 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1 bay leaf

About 8 cups (2 quarts) chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
For roasted carrots and caramelized onions

6 medium carrots (about 2 pounds) peeled, halved lengthwise, then halved horizontally

1/4-cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 medium Spanish onions, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 to 7 cups)

Prepare pot roast
Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°F. Season beef liberally with salt and pepper. In large Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot over moderately high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add beef and sear until dark brown and crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer beef to large plate. Pour off oil in pan and discard. Add sherry and simmer uncovered, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour reduced sherry into heatproof liquid measuring cup.

In same pan, combine carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. Lay beef on top of vegetable mixture and pour reduced sherry over. Add enough chicken stock to cover 3/4 of meat. Cover and transfer to lower rack in oven. Roast until fork-tender, about 3 hours.

While beef is roasting, prepare roasted carrots and caramelized onions
During final hour of roasting, in large bowl, toss carrots with olive oil until well coated. Season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread on baking sheet and transfer to upper rack in oven. Roast until slightly tender and browned, about 45 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and keep warm.

During final 30 minutes of roasting, in heavy 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat, heat canola oil until hot but not smoking. Add onions and sauté, stirring constantly, until caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt, add to roasted carrots in large bowl, and keep warm.

Finish dish
When beef is tender, transfer to serving platter; tent with foil. Skim fat from liquid in pot. Strain liquid through fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids with back of spoon to extract all juices, then discarding solids. Return liquid to pot, set over high heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to moderate and simmer, uncovered, until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Season juices to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour half of juices into bowl with carrots and onions; toss to combine. Pour other half of juices into gravy dish. Arrange carrots and onions around beef on serving platter and serve immediately, with extra juices on side.

Rogue Irish Style Lager

Rogue’s brew-master John Maier wanted to craft a lager that, like Harp, that would be as well loved as Guinness. I think he did. The beer tastes lightly of toffee and freshly baked bread, with a fruity and refreshingly crisp close that is reminiscent of apples which is why this is the perfect after dinner finish.

Caramel Apple Crisp

For the topping:

1-cup all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons sugar

3/4-stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/4-teaspoon salt

1/2-teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8-teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)

1/2 cup sliced almonds
For the filling:

2/3-cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Pinch of salt

4 pounds baking apples such as Golden Delicious, Gala, or Crispin (about 7 large), peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch-thick slices

Special equipment: 2- to 2 1/2-quart shallow baking dish

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Butter baking dish

For the topping:
Pulse together flour, sugar, butter, salt, and extracts in a food processor until some large clumps form.

Set aside 1/4 cup for filling and transfer remaining topping to a bowl. Stir in almonds.

For the filling:
Cook sugar in a dry 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until sugar is melted into a deep-golden caramel.

Remove from heat and carefully add apple juice, butter, and salt (caramel will harden and steam vigorously). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved.

Put apples in a large bowl and toss with reserved topping mixture and caramel, then spread in baking dish. (Dish will be very full.)

Scatter clumps of topping over apples, squeezing small handfuls of topping into clumps when necessary.

Bake until apples are tender and top is golden and crisp, about 1 hour. Cool to warm or room temperature.

Cooks’ Notes: •Topping can be made 2 days ahead and kept chilled, covered.
•Crisp is best eaten the day it is made, but any leftovers can be chilled, covered. The topping will get soggy, but you can re-warm the crisp in a 350°F oven.

I’m full just writing all of this but can’t wait to hear what you think?  So Happy St. Patrick’s Day and please…do drink responsibly.


2 thoughts on “Wine Wednesday: Beer makes it better on St. Patrick’s Day

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