Colcannon Soup

Colcannon Soup by Bryan Roof is courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated Soups & Stews, Winter 2010

Boston Commons Press Limited Partnership, 17 Station St., Brookline, Ma. 02445

A  magazine put out by America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated Soups & Stews, is where I got this hale and hearty recipe .  I love their magazines, they are always chock full of information, cooking tips, and extra recipes.  I had heard of Colcannon before, but really didn’t know what kind of food it was.  The author of this recipe, Bryan Roof, spent a cold November travelling through Ireland, subsisting only on soda bread, Guinness, and Colcannon (a mash-up of potatoes, cabbage, onions and cream).  Once he returned to the states, he couldn’t find Colcannon on a menu anywhere, but he was able to find an Irish pub that made a Colcannon soup.  He liked the soup more than the Colcannon dish and set about perfecting the recipe.

Although the items in this soup are simple and humble, the taste is anything but.  The slow cooked onions and cabbage impart a sweetness, the wine keeps the chicken broth from overtaking the flavor, and the cream at the end is the icing on the cake.  Be sure to sprinkle the crumbled bacon and chopped green onions on top before serving.  I had planned on baking  Irish Soda Bread to go with this soup, but after Mark came home from work I had a Guinness with him.  Then while I was cooking dinner, I had a glass of Chardonnay.  After that I was in no mood to bake, so we had a cheese tray and crackers with the soup instead.  If you’re not into corned beef, this is an authentic Irish dish that can take its place on St. Patrick’s Day.  Enjoy!


3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used 4 slices)
1 medium onion, minced
1 pound leeks, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin and rinsed thoroughly (tutorial below)
8 ounces green cabbage (about 1/2 small head), cored and chopped medium (about 4 cups)
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
12 ounces red potatoes (about 3 medium), cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, minced


Before we start cooking, I have a short tutorial on how to clean leeks.  If you already know this process, just skip forward.

1. Leeks look like giant green onions.  They are very dirty, and must be cleaned well before you can use them.


2. Start by chopping off the bottoms and most of the dark green tops.


3. Slice the leeks lengthwise…see all that dirt (click on the photo to enlarge).


4. Chop the leeks, dirt and all.


5. Place the chopped leeks in a large bowl, or sink,  with cold water and allow them to soak for a few minutes so that the dirt is loosened.  Rinse and repeat.


6. Once you have cleaned the leeks, transfer them to a colander and rinse them really well, then allow them to drain.


1. Cook bacon in a large dutch oven over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5-7 minutes.


2. Remove bacon, drain on paper towels, and leave fat in pot.


3. Add onion, leeks, and cabbage to bacon fat in pot and stir to coat.  Cover and cook over a medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Stir in garlic, cook for about 30 seconds.


4. Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute.


5. Stir in wine, scraping any browned bits, and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.


6. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream, season with salt and pepper.  Serve in bowls with reserved crumbled bacon and chives as a garnish.

Chocolate Guinness Cake


Recipe courtesy of Feast by Nigella Lawson, and

Chocolate and Guinness…mmmm!  This decadent recipe is from the British food writer, Food Network star, and Domestic Goddess herself, Nigella Lawson.  It is an easy cake to put together; you start by melting the butter and Guinness in a large skillet on the stove, and mix in the rest of the ingredients right in the skillet.  After the cake bakes and cools, you mix up a quick frosting that only goes on top, simulating the frothy head of a Guinness draught.

I love that you can mix this whole thing up in the skillet, however, you’d better use a big one.  My cast iron skillet is 12 inches across and nearly 2 1/2 inches deep, and the cake batter filled it.  I had to whisk slowly so as not to sling chocolate and flour all over the place.  If you are like me (an aggressive stirrer), then you may wish to transfer the butter and Guinness mixture to a heat-proof bowl so that you can just go to town on it when you add the other ingredients.

This is a great birthday cake for that person in your life that loves beer (especially Guinness) and doesn’t want the typical sweet bakery confection.  This cake is dense, moist and not overly sweet.  Plus, it looks pretty cool.  Enjoy!



1 cup Guinness (save the cap to float on top of the cake for decoration)

10 Tablespoons butter

3/4 cup cocoa (Dutch-processed is best)

2 cups superfine sugar ( regular, granulated sugar, works fine too)

3/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda



1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9 inch springform pan and line the pan with parchment paper.


2. Combine the Guinness and butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until the butter melts.  Remove from the heat, whisk in sugar and cocoa until blended.

3. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.


4. Add to the Guinness mixture in the pan.  Add the flour and baking soda, whisk until smooth.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 45 minutes-1 hour (mine took 50 minutes), at 350 degrees, until cake is risen and firm.

6. Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool completely in the pan.


Frothy Head on the Guinness 

1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Using a food processor or mixer, break up any lumps in the confectioner’s sugar.  Add cream cheese and blend until smooth.  Add heavy cream and mix until smooth and spreadable.

2. Remove cake from the pan and place on a platter or cake stand.  Ice the top of the cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.  Float the cap of the bottle on the top of the cake, or draw a shamrock in the suds, like the bartender does when you get a Guinness on draught.

Roast Beef Sandwiches with Guinness Mushrooms


Roast Beef Sandwiches recipe courtesy of Woman’s Day Magazine, Hearst Communications, New York, N.Y.

Mushrooms in Guinness recipe courtesy of


The idea for this recipe came to me as I flipped through the March 2013 Woman’s Day magazine and saw a beautiful roast beef sandwich.  It was topped with arugula, which is not that appealing to my husband.  He loves mushrooms, and Guinness had a terrific recipe for mushrooms on their website, so I just combined the two recipes into this roast beef/mushroom-and-beer mash-up.  He was a very happy man, indeed.  Enjoy!



4 sandwich rolls (I used multi-grain hamburger buns)
1/2 pound thinly sliced roast beef
1/3 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
2 ounces onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ounce butter
1/2 bottle Guinness draught
salt and pepper
1/4 cup cream
2 Tablespoons beef or brown gravy
2 Tablespoons roux (butter/flour mixture), to thicken gravy



1. Melt butter, soften onions and garlic.



2. Add mushrooms. Partially cook without letting onions brown.



3. Add Guinness, cook on full heat until Guinness is reduced by half.



4. Add cream and gravy, thicken with the roux, and add seasonings.



5. Meanwhile, mix together horseradish, sour cream and Dijon mustard.  Spread evenly on the bottom buns.  Stack roast beef on top of the horseradish mixture.



6. Once the gravy has thickened, top the roast beef with the mushrooms and add some of the gravy.