Cooking Meat With Guinness
By Sam Wass, Medium Well
Almost since the very beginning in 1759 when Arthur Guinness invented ‘the black stuff’ through to today, Guinness stout has been part of Irish food traditions for generations. Even if it is not added as an integral ingredient, it is more often than not, a fitting accompaniment to many meals.
It might take some people a little persuading that pouring a perfectly good drink into a saucepan is a good use of beer, but history shows the results are worth it.
Guinness is traditionally added to a range of hearty homemade dishes, such as chunky soups and winter stews, with the classic Guinness and beef stew featuring on almost every pub menu in Ireland. It also has a long affinity with seafood such as oysters, mussels and lobster, and many chefs are known to incorporate Guinness into the batter for fried fish.
Arguably Guinness works best with rich food, with the flavours enhanced by the roasted bitterness of the stout, and why it has become such a potent combination partner to certain foods, such as dark chocolate, oysters, and beef stew.
Along with the traditional classic combinations, Guinness is also a surprising versatile ingredient. If you like a deep rich ham for a special occasion, especially a Christmas Ham, you can try boiling your ham in 2 pints of Guinness instead of water. It won’t overpower the flavour of the ham, but it will leave you with a succulent Guinness infused ham that can served hot for Christmas Eve supper, or cold for lunch or warm for a perfect ham and eggs breakfast.
It is also easy to make Guinness Gravy, which goes lovely with sausages and mash (or champ/colcannon). To make Guinness gravy just melt a knob of butter in a saucepan, and stir in a tablespoon of plain flour, and mix continuously for a minute on a gentle heat. Add 300ml/0.5 pint beef stock and 150ml/0.25 pint Guinness, 1 teaspoon tomato puree and half a teaspoon mixed herbs. Reduce the heat as low as it will go and simmer for 3-4 minutes until you’ve got a rich gravy.
For barbecue season you can try making a Guinness marinade for chicken, by combining Guinness with honey, balsamic vinegar, cajun spice seasoning and lime zest and juice, or for a really rich and indulgent treat use the same marinade on a Lamb Rack, and serve it on a board with the other half of Guinness. The simple smoothness of Guinness make it an ideal accompaniment for the delicate blend of flavours in lamb, and especially a cut with such complexities as lamb rack, which is exactly how we served it in the image above.
If you think Guinness is such for drinking, we’d urge you to give it another look and consider cooking with it, as it’s an easy ingredient to enhance a whole bunch of traditional dishes. That said, if you are just going to drink it, make sure you have some great meat to go with it, as it is one of meats great wash down accompaniments .