Why Drink Green Beer When Ireland’s Finest is Brown?
Oh, St. Patrick’s Day!
The day when everyone is Irish and green foods—and green beer—abound. I enjoy St. Patrick’s Day as much as the next guy, but I do not understand people’s insistence on making sure that everything they eat and drink on the day is green.
After all, Ireland is the home of some pretty famous beer, and the last time I checked, it is brown.
Guinness Stout, the venerable beer from Dublin, is dark and smooth with just a bit of a bite. Not only does it bring a lot of roasted malt flavor to anything you cook with it, but the alcohol also unlocks some alcohol-soluble flavors that would otherwise be unnoticeable.
What better way to use a nice bottle of Guinness than in a very Irish shepherd’s pie? If you are not a fan of lamb, you can certainly use beef instead, but then technically you’ll be making a cottage pie and not a shepherd’s pie.
Here’s to Spring, and here’s to St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!
Guinness Shepherds Pie Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds ground lamb or beef, ask for coarse grind from your butcher if possible
- 2 large sweet onions diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 sprigs thyme leaves only
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary minced
- 14½ ounces diced tomatoes
- 1 bottle Guinness Stout
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 pounds Russet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 oz butter
- 2 oz white cheddar cheese shredded
- Pour the Guinness and Worcestershire into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let this mixture reduce by half.
- Preheat a large, heavy bottomed skillet.
- When hot, add a tablespoon of the oil and tilt pan to evenly distribute.
- Cook the ground meat along with some salt and pepper until browned.
- Remove the meat to a colander to drain.
- Return the pan to the heat and add another tablespoon of oil.
- Add the onions and let cook for a minute.
- Add in the garlic and herbs and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the onions take on some nice color and are soft.
- Add the meat back to the pot along with the canned tomatoes.
- Stir in the stock and the reduced Guinness mixture.
- Taste for seasoning and add just a bit of salt and pepper if necessary.
- Let the meat simmer in the sauce for about 15 minutes, or until thick.
- Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in salted water until cooked through.
- Mash or use a food mill or ricer to puree the potatoes. Mix in the butter and cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the meat into a 4 qt casserole and top with the potatoes.
- Bake at 350° F. until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.