With that in mind, Early Show contributor Katie Lee Joel offered a "top of the morning" to viewers Tuesday with recipes for clams, her grandfather's beef stew and -- cupcakes -- all using Guiness!
If you think about it, it's really not that uncommon to use alcohol in cooking: Just think of all those recipes that call for red or white wine.
The recipes Joel offered all call for a stout, traditionally a very dark beer, the most common one being Guinness.
But Joel says it's not really that uncommon to use beer as an ingredient. Alcohol, she says, is great when you cook with any kind of meat; it helps break it down and bring out a lot of the flavors. When you cook with wine or brandy or any other liquor, all of the alcohol gets cooked off anyway, so you're left with the richer flavors; the same is true with the beer.
Straight from Joel:
Clams with Garlic and Beer
Most of the time, I do these clams in white wine, but in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, I tried it with beer, and it was good. This recipe would work the exact same way if you wanted to use white wine instead. And remember, if some of the clams don't open, don't risk it -- toss them. The beer made the broth heartier than white wine would; this makes a great appetizer at a party. I like to make a big bowl and just set them out; it's a great ice-breaker to have food where everyone has to use their hands.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, minced
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
3 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 bottle stout
Crusty bread, toasted
In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, red pepper, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add clams and beer. Cover and let steam about 5 minutes. Remove clams from the pot as they open and continue to steam until all open. Discard any clams that do not open. Pour broth over clams and serve with toasted bread.
Irish Beef Stew
This is like my grandfather used to make. Guinness is really nice in the stew. Any kind of beer is great, because it helps break down the meat and make it more tender. A lot of people add red wine to stews; the Guinness is doing the same thing the wine would. It works really well in this dish because we are using an inexpensive cut of meat that needs to be cooked for a long time to make it tender. Another thing I love about this recipe is that everything is done in one pot. You can pretty much just add all of the ingredients and let it go. And the peas add a nice little St. Patty's touch at the end!
2 pounds lean beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bottle stout
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium yellow onions, quartered
4 large carrots, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 quart low-sodium beef broth
1 cup water
1 cup frozen peas
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the beef with 2 tablespoons of the flour and toss to evenly coat all sides.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef in a single layer (do in two batches if necessary) and cook until just browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan, and set aside in a bowl. Pour the beer into the pot. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and let reduce by half. Return beef to the pot. Add the potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to very low, and simmer, covered until the beef is very tender, about 2 hours.
In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of the stew liquid with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour until smooth. Stir into the beef stew. Add peas. Continue to simmer over low heat and allow the broth to thicken, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Ladle into individual bowls and serve.
For the cupcakes recipe, go to Page 2.