Toast to St. Patrick's Day with these Guinness-inspired recipes

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The math worked — Guinness beer is sold in four-can packs and there are four editors in the features department. No, we weren't planning an after-hours party, we were looking at food page ideas for St. Patrick's Day. Features editor Lindsey Hollenbaugh, herself of Irish descent, had decreed corned beef and cabbage — and most other Irish food — as already well-covered and, well, a bit boring.

Calendar editor Meggie Baker mentioned Guinness beer — and after some research on recipes using Guinness beer, we were off and running ... to the store to get the ingredients for our dishes. Jen Huberdeau, Eagle online editor, used her can of Guinness to create not one, but two main dishes — a rack of lamb and a hearty Guinness beef stew. Meggie Baker made a Guinness chocolate bread with a Bailey's Irish Cream glaze. Lindsey was all about Guinness macaroni and cheese, and I dedicated my can to a Guinness chocolate cheesecake. Unfortunately, due to having a sick child, Lindsey didn't have the time — or energy — to make the mac and cheese. Fear not, the Guinness wasn't wasted ..

Below, are the recipes we tried and what we thought about them.

Rack of lamb

"Every home cook has one or two dishes they want to make, but aren't sure they can pull off. For me, the rack of lamb was one of those dishes. I'd eaten lamb chops at restaurants, but it wasn't a dish served when I was growing up. It wasn't until a few years ago that I mustered up the courage to try any recipe involving this cut.

This recipe was my introduction to the rack of lamb. It was simple, enjoyable and helped put this cut of meat into our dinner menu's rotation and encouraged us to explore other recipes, as simple and more complex than this one."

— Jennifer Huberdeau

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup of Guinness

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1 French cut rack of lamb (8 ribs, 1 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorn

DIRECTIONS:

Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray broiler pan and rack with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine Guinness, mustard, parsley and thyme ins a small bowl. Mix well.

Sprinkle both sides of lamb with salt and pepper; spread with stout mixture. Place lamb, bone side down, on prepared broiler pan.

Roast 45 minutes for medium rare (internal temp of 145 degrees) or to desired doneness. Cove with foil, let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Cut into 8 pieces.

Guinness beef stew

"When traveling, our family tends to seek out Irish pubs to dine in. It may be because of our Irish roots, or just because the food is familiar and comforting when traveling.

"Three years ago, we found ourselves ducking into an Irish pub to escape a rainstorm that happened quite suddenly during a visit to Alexandria, Va. As we dried out near the fireplace, we warmed our bones with bowls of hearty Guinness beef stew and warm cornbread. This recipe, although a little time consuming, is the closest I've ever come to replicating the stew we ate that night."

— Jennifer Huberdeau

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 medium onions, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 11-ounce bottle Guinness

1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth

3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Head 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Cook beef in two batches, about 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove beef to large plate.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to Dutch oven; heat over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook about 10 minutes or until softened and onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add flour, garlic, tomato paste, thyme, salt and pepper, cook and stir 1 minute. Add Guinness; use wooden spoon to scrape browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven; stir in broth.

Cover and bake 1 hour. Stir in carrots and potatoes; cover and bake 1 hour 20 minutes or until beef and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley.

Baileys chocolate Guinness bread

(Courtesy HomemadeHooplah.com)

This recipe is super easy to make and absolutely delicious. The end result is rich and super moist- it could be baked in a couple of small cake tins without changing the recipe at all (just sub a Baileys frosting recipe instead. There's plenty to be found online.) The glaze recipe makes a lot of glaze, so either plan to make two loaves or split the recipe in half. Also, it's fine to consider the cream-to-Baileys ratio in the glaze to be subject to personal preference.

— Meggie Baker

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 55 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Servings: 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup walnuts chopped

1/2 cup unsalted butter softened

1/2 cup brown sugar packed

1 egg

1 cup Guinness

Baileys glaze:

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons Baileys

2 tsp half and half cream

DIRECTIONS:

For the bread:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 pan with baking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and white pepper. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer and large bowl), beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the edges of the bowl, then mix in egg. Add beer and mix for 30 seconds, just enough to break apart butter mixture into the beer.

Slowly add dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, mixing gently in between. When all dry ingredients have been added, mix until just combined, when dry ingredients are no longer visible.

Gently fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, then pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.

Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze:

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, Baileys, and cream.

If you'd like the frosting to be thinner, add a small splash of baileys until desired consistency is reached. If you'd like the frosting to be thicker, add 1 tbsp powdered sugar at a time until frosting is thick enough.

Once bread has cooled, drizzle Baileys glaze on top of bread.

Guinness chocolate cheesecake

"This cheesecake, while costing about $20 for the ingredients, was well worth every penny. It was easy to make and came out moist and was densely chocolate, although not too sweet. I used chocolate bars that were 86 percent cocoa, I might try a slightly less dark chocolate next time — and there will be a next time!"

— Margaret Button

(Courtesy joanne-eatswellwithothers.com)

Makes 1 9-inch cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons heavy cream

3 (8-ounce) packages of lowfat cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup Guinness

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, sugar and melted butter together in a medium bowl. Pour into the base on a 9-inch springform pan and press down into the bottom of it. Store in the freezer while you make the filling.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate and heavy cream, stirring together until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Mix in the sugar, Greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, chocolate/cream mixture, and Guinness, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour this mixture into the springform pan.

Bake for 60 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven, with a wooden spoon in the oven door to hold it slightly ajar. Let sit for 60 minutes.

Allow cake to cool completely and then chill in the fridge overnight before serving.


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