I’ll wager that my Da would think the following a waste of perfectly good Guinness. Nevertheless, in honour of the awards weekend that was in it, I thought that Le Spud could do worse than to take a dip in some of Arthur Guinness’s finest stout.
At first blush, it might not seem that spuds doused in Guinness would be that promising a combination. It might even sound like a messy night at the
blog awards pub. Just so we’re clear, though. I’m not talking about spilling your pint over somebody’s bag of tayto (though, no doubt, that happens quite a lot in this country…). What I’m talking about is Richard Olney’s recipe for Potatoes in Beer, which brings a whole new meaning to the term beer soakage.
The recipe was the first thing that caught my eye as I leafed through Lindsey Bareham’s book In Praise Of The Potato. A simple enough gratin of potatoes, onions, cream and, well, beer. Now, it didn’t specify any particular type of beer, but I couldn’t resist using Guinness. I tell you now that I will do my bit for sales of the black stuff by applying it to this recipe again and again and again. It was rich and addictive. You could have it with any red meats and it’s reportedly very good with fried liver. I, on the other hand, ate it with nothing more than a glass of red for company, and I thought that just fine too. Now who says that beer and wine don’t mix?
Potatoes Cooked In Beer
This is more or less as devised by the food writer Richard Olney and elaborated upon by my humble self.
- About 700g potatoes (preferably a waxy variety)
- 1 large-ish onion (about 125-150g)
- 225ml guinness (or other beer)
- 25g butter (keep it cold, ‘cos you’ll need to grate it)
- 150ml heavy cream
- Salt to taste (I used about 0.5-0.75 tsp of fine-grained salt)
You’ll also need:
- A deep baking dish (I used an oval dish that was about 28cm long, 20cm wide and 5cm deep).
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Finely slice both the onion and the potatoes. Don’t rinse the potatoes in water.
- Use a fine grater or similar implement to make fine shavings of your (cold) butter.
- Grease the baking dish and fill with alternate layers of onion and potato, starting with an onion layer and ending with a potato layer (I got about four layers of each in the dish I was using). Overlap the potato slices well and sprinkle some salt on each potato layer as you go, except for the last one.
- Pour the guinness (or other beer) over the potatoes and onions and distribute the butter shavings over the surface.
- Bake for 50 minutes, turning the temperature down to 180C after the first 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, pour the cream evenly over the surface and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Enjoy with liver or red meats or perhaps with some greens for contrast (I’m thinking crunchy French beans with a tangy dressing) or eat it all on it’s own if you feel so inclined.
- Side dish for about 4 people, though I devoured about half of this recipe at one sitting. There again, I am a potato fiend.