BEER + FOOD PAIRING #14: SLOW-COOKED LAMB WITH GUINNESS

Let me interrupt your Game of Thrones life for a minute: I GoT meat and beer? No? Ok, I tried…..

This is a recipe I followed from a cookbook, but I tweaked it a bit. I added cumin, coffee and mustard because I like my lamb with warm Mediterranean spices and I found these brought out the flavours of the Guinness better too.

A super rich, decadent winter meal that deserves a good beer to wash it down. The lamb is slow-cooked in a stock with Guinness, onion and spices. I tried a couple of richer and hoppier dark beers with this dish, they worked as an aperitif but they clashed with the flavours of the dish itself. The sweet onion and bay leaf are delicate components, while the lamb is rich and strong. The right beer pairing needs to compliment but not overpower these elements, and it needs to cut through the richness of the gravy to refresh the palate. Guinness was perfect for this.

I hope you get the opportunity to try it for yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2kg lamb shoulder (bone-in optional)
  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp hot mustard
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 60ml malt vinegar
  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250ml vege/chicken stock
  • 250ml brewed coffee (e.g. plunger)
  • instant polenta or mashed potato to accompany
  • more Guinness (not optional)

Method:

You can cook this dish using a slow-cooker, a conventional oven, or even pot-roast. If you’re using the oven, pre-heat to 160C. Choose a piece of lamb that will fit the dish/method you are using, or cut it into 4 parts.

  1. In a heavy based frying pan, heat the oil and then fry the lamb until the outside is browned.
  2. Add the onions, halved and then chopped into wedges. Add the garlic, roughly chopped.
  3. Once the onions have begun to cook, add the bay leaf, cumin and sugar. Gently turn the lamb and onions to cook evenly.
  4. Add the mustard, malt vinegar, salt and pepper. At this point you may like to transfer the lamb into a roasting dish or slow cooker. Add the final ingredients: Guinness, stock and coffee.
  5. Cook for 4-6 hours, depending on cooking method. I like to prepare the dish in advance, pre-cooking the dish in the slow-cooker on the previous night or in the morning for 2-3 hours. Then I let it cool and scrape off the excess fat, remove the bones and cook a further 2-3 hours.
  6. Once the lamb is ready, and is nice and tender, I drain off most of the gravy through a sieve into a large measuring cup. I add a bit of boiling water to make it up to 2 cups of stock. Then I used this stock to make instant polenta on the stovetop.
  7. For 500ml of stock, use 125g of polenta. For 350ml of stock, use 83 grams or around 3/4 of a cup. Add a third of the polenta at a time and use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture rapidly. Cook for around 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  8. Serve the lamb and polenta immediately, garnished with a small bay leaf. Drink Guinness.

 

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BEER + FOOD PAIRING #14: SLOW-COOKED LAMB WITH GUINNESS

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