9 February 2012

My Goodness my Beef in Guinness!

Never has a single product been more associated with a nation. Just mention that you are from Dublin and people automatically say Guinness although its quite possible they have never even tried it. Guinness, a porter style beer which originated in the 17th century and now known as stout has been brewed in the city since 1759 and its highly distinctive burnt flavour which is derived from the use of roasted unmalted barley has become popular all over the world. By 1914 St James Gate, Guinness's 64 acre brewery in the heart of Dublin was the biggest brewery in the world. Today it is still the world's biggest stout brewery.

In the past claims that Guinness was beneficial to your health led to the famous slogans "Guinness is good for you", "Guinness for strength" and "My goodness my Guinness". Today of course such claims are banned by law in Ireland but as a kid I was often told that my aunt who had a kidney removed in the 1940's was prescribed a pint of Guinness every day to speed convalescence by her specialist. A teetotaler, so this was quite an ordeal for her, she used to tell me how she would hold her nose and down the pint in one. It is still widely believed that Guinness is indeed good for you and many of Ireland's senior citizens are said to thrive on a daily dose! In the 1930's faced with stagnant sales the company embarked on probably one of the earliest co-ordinated advertising campaigns and combined the slogans with the iconic toucan across all forms of media available at the time. The posters from the time are clever, whitty and memorable and have become highly collectable.Inevitably the black gold as it is sometimes called has worked its way into Irish cuisine. When I used to make Christmas pudding with my mother every year we always put a bottle of stout into the mix. There are recipes for cheesecake, ice cream, chocolate cake chicken casserole, lamb shanks and many more all calling for Guinness but by far the best match in our opinion is undoubtedly beef steak and Guinness stew. It's a real winter warmer and should be served with lashings of creamy mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

1 kg lean stewing steak cubed
Butter/ oil
2 red onions sliced
2 cloves garlic sliced
3 carrots sliced
4 celery sticks sliced
3 tbsp plain flour
tsp cayenne pepper
sprig thyme
2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
tsp tobasco sauce
375 ml Guinness
400 ml beef or chicken stock
Seasoning

Method

Heat the oil and butter in an oven dish. Mix the cayenne pepper salt and pepper into the flour and cover each piece of meat. Brown in the oil butter mix and set aside. Fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes then add the celery and carrots and continue for another few. Add the meat, Guinness, stock, Worcestershire and tobasco sauces, thyme and season. Cover and cook in the oven at 180 C for an hour. Remove the lid stir and cook for a  further hour. Check the seasoning and garnish with roughly chopped parsley. Note : The Guinness will lend a rich unctuous quality to the jus to lighten this use chicken stock to augment it use beef.

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