Beer lovers know the fun of cooking with beer.
A quick look at TasteOfHome.com revealed 30 recipes with beer, including beer battered fish, bread, dip, braised ribs, cheese soup, chili, glazed steaks, green beans, fondue, mac and cheese, mustard, potato wedges, pot roast, roast chicken and beef stew. Whew!
Our suggestion is for a breakfast treat, Irish soda muffins and jam, both made with Irish Red ale.
Boston beer king Samuel Adams asked two local artisan food producers, both members of their Brewing the American Dream Program, to make St. Patrick’s Day recipes with its beer. The result is yummy. We could start every day with the Irish soda muffins!
If today is a good baking day for you, whip up a batch of muffins. Enjoy some warm out of the oven, and stick the rest in the freezer for St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.
The muffin recipe is by Sandy Russo of LuLu’s Sweet Shoppe in Boston’s North End. They taste just like Irish soda bread, but with the denser texture of muffins.
 Bites of heaven: Irish soda muffins (photo © King Arthur Flour).
*Look for barley malt powder, also called diastatic malt powder or barley flour, at health food or brewing supplies shops; or buy it online. It keeps well in the freezer in a tightly sealed container, and can be used to make bagels and other bread doughs.
†If you can’t find Irish Red, substitute Boston Lager.
1. POSITION the rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray the top of a muffin pan with non-stick coating and line with paper liners.
2. CREAM together in a large bowl the butter, sugar and barley malt until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.
3. MIX in the flour, salt and baking powder with the paddle attachment on low speed, just until incorporated. Add the beer until incorporated. Next add the sour cream, caraway seeds and raisins. Scrape down the sides of bowl and beat until smooth, about 25 seconds.
 Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a bottle of Irish Red…and also use it to make the beer recipe at the right (photo © Samuel Adams).
RECIPE #2: ST. PADDY’S DAY JAM ~ IRISH ALE OR BEER JAM
This recipe is from Allen Chrisholm of Al’s Backwoods Berrie Co. in Plymouth, Massachusetts. For a festive touch, add four drops of green food coloring to create a green jam—perfect for spreading on Irish soda bread muffins on St. Patrick’s Day!
This is essential a beer/ale jam, sweetened with honey. It makes enough to give as gifts.
Ingredients For 7 Eight-Ounce Jars
1. PLACE the beer in a saucepan along with the honey and orange zest. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the pectin very slowly. Once the pectin is added, return the mixture to a boil for 1 minute, constantly stirring the mixture so it does not burn.
2. ADD the sugar very slowly and bring the mixture back to a boil.
3. BOIL the jars and the lids in a separate pan so that when you fill them, they are as hot as the jam. Fill and seal the jars and turn them upside down for 3 to 5 minutes; then return them upright. Let cool.
WHAT IS IRISH RED ALE?
Originally brewed in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1710, Irish red ales are known for their rich and smooth flavor plus balance, making them ideal for warmer days yet pleasant during the chilly ones.
Deep russet in color, Samuel Adams Irish Red is inspired by the red ales of Ireland (just about every brewer there makes it).
Full of hearty, roasty character and a backbone of malty sweetness, Samuel Adams Irish Red is “brewed to suit the cool rainy days,” according to the brewer.
Irish Reds are easy to drink: well-rounded, a bit sweet, with a lightly hopped tea-like flavor and a pleasant toasted malt character. If you have a source for imports, look for Killian’s, Murphy’s, Smithwick’s and other Irish brands. Perhaps you can celebrate the day with an Irish Red tasting!