5 ways to cook with stout

If you find yourself with leftover stout this week post-St. Patrick's Day, it's a great ingredient to cook with.

Dark stout (and porter) has an intense flavour that holds up well in rich braised meat dishes

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

If you find yourself with leftover stout this week post-St. Patrick's Day, it's a great ingredient to cook with.

Dark stout (and porter) has an intense flavour that holds up well in rich braised meat dishes and can add moisture, lift and an appealing tang to gingery or dark chocolate baked goods. Even beer that has been opened and gone flat can be revived and put to good use rather than poured down the drain.

Pumpkin stout gingerbread with cream cheese frosting

It doesn't have to be Halloween to cook with pumpkin. It's always available in canned, puréed form and adds moisture and nutrients to muffins, quickbreads and this gingerbread Bundt cake, made with stout and slathered with cream cheese frosting.

  • 1 cup dark stout, such as Wild Rose Alberta Crude Oatmeal Stout
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Cream cheese frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 250 g. cream cheese
  • 2-3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a Bundt pan really well with nonstick spray. In a medium saucepan (you need room for the mixture to foam up), combine the stout and molasses over medium heat. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Set aside until the foam subsides and the mixture cools slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, oil, pumpkin purée and ginger. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.

Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir just until combined. Add half the molasses mixture then another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the molasses mixture and the rest of the dry ingredients, stirring after each addition just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour until the top is springy to the touch. Cool for a few minutes, then invert onto a wire rack while still warm. Cool completely before spreading with cream cheese frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric beater until creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar, milk and vanilla, beating until the mixture is creamy and well-blended. Add a little more sugar or milk if necessary to achieve a spreadable frosting.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Pulled beef with stout

This simple slow cooker dish is a fantastic alternative to the usual pulled pork. It's deeper and richer, and is delicious either straight-up or piled onto soft buns or fresh biscuits.

  • Canola or olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 pot roast
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 bottle stout or other dark beer
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. grainy mustard
  • A few cloves of garlic, crushed

In a heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and brown the roast on all sides. Meanwhile, toss everything else together in a slow cooker and top with the browned meat. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours. Using two forks, pull the meat apart in the sauce and serve on soft buns. Serves about 10 (depending on the size of your roast).

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Black & Tan cupcakes

Stout makes a deep, dark, tangy chocolate cake. Use Guinness in the frosting for a cupcake inspired by a classic Black & Tan, a beer cocktail made by layering pale beer, such as lager, with a dark stout or porter.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup Guinness or other dark stout
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Guinness frosting (optional):

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup Guinness

In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the Guinness over medium heat. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and whisk in sugar and cocoa. Whisk in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt just until blended. Divide the batter between paper-lined cupcake tins and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until tops are springy to the touch.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, icing sugar and Guinness until you have a spreadable frosting. Wait until the cupcakes have cooled completely before frosting.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Stout-braised lamb shanks

Lamb shanks benefit from a long, slow cooking time to break down tough connective tissues. Dark stout stands up to the richness of the lamb, making a deep, intense gravy.

  • 4 lamb shanks, trimmed of any excess fat
  • Canola or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed or left whole
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary and/or thyme
  • 1 can or bottle of dark beer or stout, such as Village Blacksmith
  • 1-2 cups beef stock

Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Drizzle some oil in a large ovenproof pot set over medium-high heat and brown the lamb shanks on all sides, then transfer to a plate. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Add the onions to the pan and sauté for three to four minutes until soft. Add the celery, carrot and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the balsamic vinegar and tomato paste then return the lamb shanks to the pot, add the rosemary or thyme, stout and beef stock, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Cover and bake for two and a half to three hours until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve over mashed potatoes, drizzled with sauce. Serves four.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Beef and Guinness pie (adapted from Jamie Oliver)

Beef and Guinness pie is a classic — and simple to make with frozen puff pastry. It's a great way to feed a crowd.

  • Canola or olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 large purple onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups quartered mushrooms
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
  • 2 lbs. beef brisket or stewing beef, cut into one-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 can or bottle of Guinness
  • Chicken or beef stock or water
  • 1 cup grated old cheddar (optional)
  • 1 package frozen puff pasty, thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork, for brushing on top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a large, ovenproof casserole or medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for three to four minutes, until soft. Add the celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another drizzle of oil, sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and brown it in the pan, turning to get as much colour as possible. Return the vegetables to the pan, sprinkle everything with flour and stir to coat. Pour the Guinness over top then add stock or water to come up to the top of the meat. Cover and place in the oven for two and a half to three hours, until the meat is very tender. If you like, cool and refrigerate overnight or up to a few days.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out into a circle, square or rectangle slightly larger than your baking dish. In a small dish, beat the egg with a spoonful of water with a fork and brush the edge of your baking dish with it. Drape the puff pastry over top and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. If you like, cut a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife, without going all the way through the pastry. Brush with the egg wash and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and deep golden and the filling is bubbling through. Serves six.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

About the Author

Julie Van Rosendaal

Calgary Eyeopener's food guide

Julie Van Rosendaal shares recipes and cooking tips with the Calgary Eyeopener every Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. The cookbook author explores Calgary's culinary wonders in her column Food and the City.