Guinness Soup

Here’s a simple straightforward use for a pint of Guinness, add it to the soup. Yup, a pint of Guinness adds a nice earthy note and much needed smoothness in a butternut squash soup. In this recipe, I swap the cream for Guinness, and get an added bonus. Not only does the flavor pallet change, but the texture is much improved as the Guinness adds body.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 apples
  • 1 quart chicken, or vegetable stock
  • 1 pint Guinness
  • Sea salt

Take your squash and peel it, split it in half, clean out the seeds, and chop into manageable chunks. Toss this in the pot. Take your apples, core them, peel them, and chop them into manageable chunks. Toss them in the pot. Take your stock and toss it in the pot. Take your Guinness, and you see the pattern that’s developing here… toss it in the pot.

Add a pinch or two of sea salt and boil this until the chunks of squash are all… squishy.

Once these are soft, I use the immersion blender and blend the soup right in the pot.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can take the pot off the heat, let it cool a bit and transfer the soup to a blender and blend till smooth.

Serve with warm rolls and butter.

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Guinness Potato Pancakes

Guinness and potatoes make for a good Irish meal, but is there a way to put these both together is one dish? Of course there is… adding Guinness to the water when boiling or steaming, adding Guinness to the mixture making potatoes au gratin, drinking a pint of Guinness while eating fries, but here’s a creative way of adding just a touch of Guinness magic to the delicacy of potato pancakes…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 large Long Island potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A splash or two of Guinness
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil

Grate potatoes with onion into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid. And blot this mixture as dry as possible. The more water you can squeeze out of the mixture here, the more you can replace with beer.

Mix in egg, Guinness, salt, and pepper. Add enough flour to make mixture thick, about 2 to 4 tablespoons all together.

Turn oven to low, about 200 degrees F.

Heat 1/4 inch oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium high heat. With a good size spoon, drop the mixture in roughly ¼ cup size mounds into the hot oil, and flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel lined plates to drain, and keep warm in low oven until serving time.

Don’t forget to finish the rest of that Guinness while your making your pancakes.

Comfort Food – Pub Style

Whenever you go to a good pub, the menu always features one of my favorite comfort foods. That’s right; we’re talking about a Sheppard’s pie… cooked long and slow. Now, there are quick and easy recipes that will tell you how to make one of these in thirty minutes, or even quicker. But the whole point it seems to these winter comfort foods is to take the long, slow, warm, approach that not only heats the hearth, but warms our memories as well.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb lean lamb, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • enough beef stock to cover
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tsp corn starch
  • 2 lbs Long Island potatoes
  • 4 oz butter
  • Salt and pepper

Add minced lamb into a casserole dish, add onion, carrot, celery, beef stock, corn starch, salt and pepper, to taste, and stir. Cook in a slow oven, 275°F for about 2 hours. Its important that the flavors meld together. You can do all this on stove top for about 20 minutes BUT the flavor is never the same. When complete, drain off gravy and put that on the side.

Boil and mash potatoes with milk, butter, salt and pepper, however don’t make it into a wet paste. It should be firm and almost chunky, think ‘rustic’, and for gosh sakes don’t use the mash potatoes in a box!

Add back enough gravy to the meat to make it moist. Gently add the mashed potato to the top and build up. Spread with a fork, finally making fork marks both up and down and across to form a basket like pattern.

Put oven temperature at 400°F, then bake until potato is crispy and golden on the peaks (about) 30 minutes. Serve with remaining gravy, and a pint of Guinness or two.