Splashes of green hues, shamrocks, Ireland and beer; all synonymous for the day most people around the world eagerly await. March 17th is celebrated as St. Patrick’s day, a day full of feasting and revelry. Parades and festivals are not only held in Ireland but as far away as Argentina as well. The day has now evolved into celebrating everything ‘Irish’, especially their beer. Front runner for Irish Ales, Guinness, uses this day as the focus of its marketing strategy with St. Patrick’s Day events worldwide. But where can you find most of the population on St. Patrick’s Day? The answer is simple, flocking around an Irish pub.
Charles M. Madigan quipped, “St. Patrick,one of the few saints whose feast day presents the opportunity to get determinedly whacked and and make a fool of oneself all under the guise of acting Irish.” That however, does not seem like the only way to enjoy beer on St. Patrick’s Day, cook up a feast using the favorite ingredient of this holiday;beer. A good beverage to use while cooking as it includes ingredients that we use on a daily basis; grains, herbs, water and yeast. In order to help you decide, I have compiled a list of the top 5 things to cook with beer on St. Patrick’s Day.
1. Beer Batter
Famously found in the pubs of England and Ireland, beer battered fish and squid top the list. Drowned with a pint, beer battered seafood is one of the pillars of British gastro-pub cooking. Simple enough to make yet crispy and flavorful for a fun night out. Just whisk together 1 1/2 cup of flour, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil, then slowly add 2 cans of beer while stirring. Once mixed, carefully fold in 4 egg whites till combined. Your beer batter is ready. Just dip the seafood of your choice or even onions thoroughly in the batter and fry. Crispy beer battered snacks will be ready in under 10 minutes.
2. Beer Bread
Best eaten hot and straight out of the oven. The aroma that will fill your house would be enough to make your stomach rumble and devour the bread. The idea behind beer bread is straightforward, just substitute some of the liquid ingredients for beer. Add a can of beer with 2 beaten eggs to your dry mixture (2 cups bread flour, 2tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp baking powder and 2 tsp salt). Mix well and knead on a lightly floured surface. Grease your loaf pan and pour the bread mixture evenly. Bake the bread for about an 1 hour at 375f. Let it cool before serving. Pat it with butter or eat on its own, a great use for the leftover beer in the fridge.
3. Beer Can Chicken
It is one of the most popular barbecue recipes in the world. It can either be cooked on a charcoal grill or in the oven. If cooking on the charcoal grill, soak the woodchips in beer too for extra aroma. If cooking in the oven, discard half the beer from the can and make holes on top of the can for the liquid to steam. Cover your chicken with your favorite barbecue dry rub and place it upright, resting on the beer can in the roasting pan. Roast for about 2 hours at 275f and carve after about 15 minutes. Soft, succulent chicken boasting a full-bodied aroma will leave your palate asking for more.
4. Beer Puffs
Another snack to serve with drinks, especially your favorite Ale or Stout are beer puffs. These mini puffs can be stuffed with any filling of your choice, vegetables, tuna, chicken or even a mixture of them all. Melted cheese over these puffs also turns into a delicious appetizer. Heat a stick of butter with 1 cup of beer. As the butter melts add 1 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and 1 tsp red chilli powder. Mix well for about 5 minutes. Add 4 eggs one at a time, whisking after every addition. Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheets in round balls and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350f. Let them cool and either add the stuffing on the top or slice the puff through and place it in the middle. Easy party snacks for St. Patrick’s Day
5. Irish Stew with Beer
No St. Patrick’s Day celebration can be complete without an Irish dish on the menu. Hence, its appropriate to mention their traditional dish, Irish Stew, albeit with beer. Cook 1 1/2 lbs of chopped beef in two batches. Once browned in oil, set aside the meat. Simmer 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried rosemary and 2-3 star anise in 4 cups of chicken stock for an hour. Lower the heat and add 4 chopped potatoes, 1 diced onion,3 sliced carrots, salt, pepper, 1 cup beer/ale and the meat. Cover and cook till the potatoes are tender. Add cornflour if you want to thicken the stew but I prefer it to be soupy. Serve it with beer bread and eat like the Irish do.
A lot has been said about cooking with beer; never cook with beer you cant drink, the less you boil beer the more flavorful the dish and use beer in any recipe by substituting it with the liquid ingredients. But the main point always seems to be left out. Drink the beer while cooking with it and enjoy. Happy St. Patrick’s Day