Margaret M. Johnson offers this Irish adaptation of Oysters Rockefeller in The New Irish Table (Chronicle Books 2003). Bacon and cabbage — far more Irish than corned beef and cabbage — is substituted for the traditional spinach. The recipe is from Derry Clarke, chef-owner of L'Ecrivain in Dublin.
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup Guinness stout
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
4 outer green cabbage leaves, finely shredded
1 teaspoon canola oil
4 slices traditional Irish bacon or Canadian bacon, chopped
24 oysters in the shell
To Make Sabayon: In a double boiler, whisk the egg yolks, Guinness, lemon juice, salt and pepper together. Place over barely simmering water and whisk for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and gradually drizzle in the melted butter until the sauce is well blended.
Cook the cabbage in salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Drain and immerse in cold water. Drain again. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Preheat the broiler. Shuck the oysters over a small bowl. Reserve the deeper half of each shell and rinse them under cold water. Place the shells on a bed of rock salt in a small, sided baking sheet. Divide the cabbage among the shells, put an oyster on top of each and sprinkle the bacon over the oysters. Spoon some of the sabayon over each. Place under the broiler 4 inches from the heat source and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the sauce is browned and bubbling. Serve immediately.
Cornish Hens in Stout
Stout is used in many beef dishes. As the weather warms up, this might be a slightly lighter main course for St. Patrick’s Day. This recipe, from Real Beer & Good Eats by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly (Alfred A. Knopf 1992) should be made with a full-flavored stout. "The stout, mushrooms and cream combine to make a magnificent sauce," the authors write. "And the ale's rich, caramel flavors tie everything together beautifully." They recommend garlic mashed potatoes as an accompaniment. Drink the same stout used for cooking with your meal.
4 1-pound Cornish game hens
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped juniper berries
1 bay leaf
1 12-ounce bottle stout
1 cup heavy cream
Season the birds generously with salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large casserole over medium heat and in it brown the game hens on all sides until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the birds and all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the juniper berries, bay leaf and beer and bring to a boil. Put in ¼ cup of cream and the game hens and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until the birds are done.
Remove the hens to a warm platter and skim off any fat on the sauce. Pour in the remaining cream and cook the sauce until it just begins to thicken. Taste for salt and pepper.
Serve some of the sauce over the birds, the rest over mashed potatoes.
Guinness Stout Ginger Cake
Claudia Fleming, former pastry chef at New York's Gramercy Tavern, substitutes stout for the usual water or coffee in most gingerbread recipes. This recipe is from her book The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern(Random House 2001).
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup molasses
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh gingerroot
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment and grease the parchment. Alternatively, butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Allow to sit until the foam dissipates.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Whisk in the oil.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom.
Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, half at a time. Add the fresh ginger and stir to combine.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Do not open the oven until the gingerbread is almost done, or the center may fall slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 8 servings.
Grace Neill's Chocolate and Guinness Brownies
Margaret M. Johnson includes this brownie and stout recipe in The New Irish Table (Chronicle Books 2003). According to Johnson, Grace Neill's is listed in the appropriately named Guinness Book of Records as the oldest bar in Ireland. It opened in 1611.
3/4 cup superfine sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups Guinness stout
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-by-8-inch square pan.
In an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat into the egg mixture.
Sift the flour and cocoa together and beat into the chocolate mixture. Whisk in the Guinness.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares.