On a normal day, thirsty revelers easily drain two kegs of Guinness at Boston’s Black Rose tavern. Come St. Patrick’s Day — an official holiday in Bean Town — and they’ll plow thorough 55 kegs.
“It’s pretty crazy over there,” says Keenan Langlois, corporate chef for The Black Rose and the seven other restaurants in Boston’s Glynn Hospitality Group. “People start early and spend all day there.”
And these days, not all of that Guinness is going down parched gullets. With what he says is the largest Guinness account in the state of Massachusetts, Langlois figured it was time to use it as an ingredient in food, too. His Black Rose burger stacks prime beef with Irish bacon, shredded cabbage and Guinness-spiked ketchup. And he’s not alone.
Chefs have long known that the hearty Irish stout, brewed in Dublin since 1759, can add complexity to stews, soups, dips and even desserts. They use its bitterness and toasty malt flavor to offset rich, fatty meats, and echo its notes of chocolate and coffee in cakes and ice cream. Its creaminess offers a great platform for cheese, they say, especially Irish blues.
“It has a rich spectrum of uses,” says Paul Hartley, author of “Guinness: An Official Celebration of 250 Remarkable Years” (Hamlyn, 2009). “It’s this rounded velvety feel and it fuses with all the right things. Like oysters and blue cheese and chocolate. From time to time, I marinate chicken in Guinness and lime and grill it. It brings all that to life.”
Hartley’s idea of the perfect St. Patrick’s Day starts with Guinness-marinated Irish bacon, moves onto crepes with Guinness-poached mushrooms for lunch, and ends with a dinner of Irish “beef cobbler,” that is, Guinness-braised beef served with scones.
CARAMELIZED ONION AND GUINNESS DIP
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large sweet onions, diced
1 cup cold Guinness
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese (preferably Irish), cubed
Crackers, chips or bread, to serve
In a large skillet over medium, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and caramelized, about 20 minutes. If the onions begin to char before they caramelize, add a tablespoon or 2 of water. Set the onions aside and allow to cool.
Once the onions have cooled, in a food processor combine them, the Guinness, salt, pepper, cayenne and cheddar. Pulse until combined and smooth. Serve with crackers, chips or bread. Also makes a great spread for a roast beef sandwich.
Nutrition information per serving: 130 calories; 90 calories from fat (69 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 7 g protein; 240 mg sodium.
(Recipe by Alison Ladman)
IRISH CHOP SUEY
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Six 12-ounce bottles Guinness
1-pound package wide egg noodles
1 1/2 pounds 90 percent lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon brown mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and ground black pepper
3 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
In a large stockpot over medium-high, bring the Guinness to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain the noodles, but reserve 3 cups of the liquid (add water if needed to have 3 cups). Set both aside.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet over medium-high, combine the ground beef, onion and garlic. Saute until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and reserved Guinness. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in the egg noodles and serve topped with scallions.
Nutrition information per serving: 680 calories; 130 calories from fat (19 percent of total calories); 15 g fat (6 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 135 mg cholesterol; 74 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 36 g protein; 270 mg sodium.