St. Patrick’s Day (Belated)Posted: March 19, 2012
So, last week I decided that I wanted to prepare something for St. Patrick’s Day. I realized how much I love corned beef so I thought, “What the heck, I’ll brine a brisket for the big day. How hard could it be?” Ever the culinary optimist, I headed out in search of all the ingredients necessary to perform such a feat. Luckily, my local Whole Foods had an unadulterated brisket “in the back” that I could buy. If I had wanted to cut corners, I suppose I could have just purchased a vacuum-sealed pre-brined brisket. But no, not this girl. No. Way. I was doing it right.
When I spoke to the butcher, he informed me that 8 days might not be long enough to get the effect I was hoping for, but since I couldn’t go back in time, I chose to forge ahead and see what happened. I had been wanting to try a corned beef recipe from the venerable Michael Ruhlman, which can be found in his book, Charcuterie. It’s pretty flawless if you can locate all of the ingredients for the pickling spice. Even I had a hard time (I had to drive a few places), but ultimately, I procured everything on the list and made my way home to make my very first brine!
After 8 long (refrigerated) days in the brine, today has finally arrived and I was able to start cooking! Now, I deviated from Michael’s recipe just a bit, and added a full can of Guinness to my braising liquid, along with the water. It’s bubbling away as we speak, filling the house with most amazing smells. (Edit: the final product tasted amazing! It had a lovely flavor courtesy of the pickling spice mixture, and the red pepper flakes included in said mixture really put it over the top. Unfortunately, we got so excited about eating that I forgot to snap photos! Forgive me and trust that it was delicious.)
Yesterday, I knocked out my dessert: Guinness Chocolate Brownies. I have a recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake that I can practically make with my eyes closed, but I wanted to try something a little different, so I went with brownies. The kicker? I reduced a cup of Guinness down by half and used some of the concentrated beer in the brownie batter, as well as in the chocolate glaze I poured over the top.
For my final contribution to the dinner was an oh-so-simple (and quick) bread made with Guinness, Irish cheddar cheese, and chives. As my friend pointed out, it had the consistency of banana bread, but was of course, savory. Very nice, and I’m sure would be delightful toasted up with some Irish butter spread on top.
My friends contributed a gorgeous sauerkraut soup along with some roasted new potatoes, garlic, and Brussels sprouts. It was by far one of the best meals we’ve had in long time! And now I know that I can successfully brine a brisket for all of my future St. Patrick’s Day needs.
Cheddar and Chive Guinness Bread
adapted from The Kitchn
2 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness
1 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped chives
6 tablespoons good butter (I used Plugra, but you can use Kerrygold if you want), melted
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a loaf pan (8 1/2” x 4 1/2”) with parchment paper, or coat with butter (I used Pam for Baking spray).
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Add the beer and mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Fold in 3/4 cup cheese and the chives.
Transfer the batter to prepared pan. Pour the melted butter evenly over top of the dough. Bake about 30 minutes, then scatter the remaining 1/4 cheese over the top. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn out on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.
UPDATE: As per request, I have included the recipe for the Guinness Chocolate Brownies. Enjoy!
Guinness Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Bon Appétit
As you can see in the photos, I chose to use a springform pan, rather than a standard brownie pan. For whatever reason, my brownies did not fully bake in the middle, so I would urge you to use a square pan.
1 cup Guinness
16 ounces (2 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 1/4 sticks)
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a 9x9x2″ metal (or glass) baking pan with foil, leaving a 2″ overhang. Bring beer to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool. Set aside 1/4 cup of stout.
Stir 12 ounces chocolate and 1 cup butter in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water until melted and smooth. This can also be done in a microwave set on low power, but you have to be sure not to burn it.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture and coffee granules, then 1/4 cup beer from saucepan. Fold in the flour and 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake brownies until surface begins to crack and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Stir remaining 4 ounces chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water until melted and smooth (again, you could do this in the microwave). Add reserved 1/4 cup beer, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt; whisk until well-blended.
Pour warm glaze over brownies. I found that the glaze made a bit too much for my taste, so I didn’t use it all, but hey, go for it if you want! Let the brownies sit at room temperature until glaze is set, about 40 minutes.
Using foil overhang, lift brownie from pan; cut into squares.