St Patrick’s Day is upon us and with it, the opportunity to sample some of the best Irish beer and food pairings! You can’t go wrong with our easy recipe for Irish Stew, or the classic Irish pairing of oysters and milk stout.
A recent study showed Ireland as one of the top ten beer drinking countries in the world. Based on beer consumption per capita (i.e. the total volume of beer consumed by the country divided by its population) Ireland came out fourth!
How could we not then take this opportunity to pay homage to the Emerald Isle and their contribution to our global beer heritage? In celebration of St Patrick’s Day we present our favourite Irish beer and food pairings for your enjoyment.
Hearty Irish Stew & Stout
- 600 g stewing beef or mutton
- 1.3kg potatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 litre beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- A sprig of thyme
- A handful of chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Brown the meat on a high heat in a heavy based pan. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Then add the stock, thyme, bay leaves and 2 cups water. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in another pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute until the onions are golden (about 15 minutes). Set aside.
Add the onions, carrots and potatoes to the beef stew. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, then simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes until the vegetables and beef are tender. Then remove the bay leaves and tilt the pan to spoon off any excess fat.
Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Accompany with fresh bread and butter and a big glass of Castle Milk Stout.
The big-bodied stout stands up well to the rich and hearty stew. The dark roasted malt and caramel flavours bring out the sweetness of the stew while complementing to the rich gutsy meatiness.
Oysters and Stout
The meal of oysters and stout has a long history in Ireland, dating back as far as the 18th century. Oysters were a cheap meal foraged by peasants along the rocky coastline, and a commonplace food served in taverns. Typically served with a stout, this classic combination has all the elements of a perfect pairing.
The idea is that the oysters add a touch of brine to the stout and perhaps some extra body to enhance its mouthfeel. The stout’s smooth and creamy texture and subtle caramel flavour balances out the sea saltiness to bring a satisfyingly creamy and balanced taste experience.