Growing up, no holiday went unnoticed in our house and I remember especially loving St. Patrick’s Day for a number of reasons. My mom would make us green eggs and ham. Literally, green eggs. And ham. They certainly weren’t naked but as a 6 year old, I loved it.
I’d write a note the night before to the leprechauns wishing them a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. That was never embarrassing until just this moment. And then, magically, we’d find a letter, written in riddles, from a leprechaun leading us on a scavenger hunt through the house. Clue after clue ending at a stash of candy he left behind. It was so clever and everything I hope Amazing Race is whenever I’m finally selected to be on the show. Sorry, daydreaming…back to the food.
Of course now, I don’t eat green eggs. And I’m certain Jon’s not sending me on a riddle-driven scavenger hunt to find me lucky charms. But I still want to celebrate…like adults. With beer. And cheese. Lots of cheese. Baked together in a savory, warm, melty bread. It’s magically delicious.
In the spirit of the holiday, I was sure to use Dubliner, a hard Irish cheese, and Smithwick’s, an Irish red ale. The beer and cheese are the superstars here, so get the good stuff. I know it’s a lot of grating, but freshly grated cheese has a creaminess you lose in pre-shredded bagged cheese.
I also used sharp cheddar and extra sharp white cheddar cheeses. The combination is even better than I anticipated. The sharp cheddar is, well, appropriately named while the white cheddar adds a little smokiness. The Dubliner is harder than the cheddars and has tang similar to Parmesan but not nearly as pungent.
I’ve never been to Ireland, but I’m going this summer. If this is how the Irish do it, I may not return. The bread is quick – no yeast, just beer. No rising. No punching. No rolling. No kneading. Really, the hardest part is grating the cheese. It’s a St. Patty’s Day celebration in loaf form. It’s incredibly moist and perfectly spiced to make the best savory bread I’ve had – ever. Go ahead and try it yourself. Once you do, you might want to KISS ME. Although, I’M not IRISH – but I understand.
Irish Beer and Cheese Bread (recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup Dubliner cheese, shredded
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
¾ cup sour cream
1¼ cup beer, I used Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
Posted on March 11, 2011