- Associated Press - Thursday, March 15, 2012

As much as I love the dark, velvety richness of Guinness lager, that love isn’t strong enough to drag me into an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day.

I’d rather be home, avoiding the crowds and enjoying my Guinness both from a pint glass and in my cooking. Guinness can do wonderful things to your cooking, including help you change up the classic menu while still using traditional Irish flavors.

I didn’t create this Guinness-marinated flank-steak sandwich with grilled onions and Boursin cheese for St. Patrick’s Day per se, but I often serve it on that day because it is spot-on. It is a refreshing change from beef stew and corned beef and cabbage.

While this recipe decidedly is not authentic, it’s still beef. And the marriage of beef and Guinness is magical. Remember the company slogan, “Guinness is good for you.” And, I say, good for flank steak, too!

Flank steak and thick slices of red onion are marinated in pure Guinness, then grilled until they are caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside.

You can serve this dish as a meal with boiled potatoes and cabbage or serve it on slabs of country bread as a sandwich fit for a leprechaun or a saint.


The depth of flavor from the Guinness marinade is enhanced by a touch of rich herb-and-garlic cheese that melts on the hot steak and onions. Freeze the cheese to make it easier to shave just enough on the top of the grilled steak and onions. This prevents too much cheese from being layered on, which can happen when spreading the soft cheese.

Onions are easier to grill without falling apart if you skewer them before cooking. Cut an onion into ½-inch-thick slices. Thread the center of each onion with a bamboo skewer that has been soaked in water. Place the onion skewers (they look like lollipops) on the cooking grates and turn once halfway through cooking.

Start to finish: 30 minutes active (plus 1 to 2 hours marinating)

Servings: 4

2-pound flank steak or London Broil, at least 1-inch thick

14.9-ounce can Guinness beer

2 large red onions, cut into ½-inch slices

1 small container Boursin cheese

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

8 thick slices sourdough or country bread

Use paper towels to pat dry the steak, then set it in a glass or stainless steel container with a tight cover. Pour the Guinness over the steak. Cut the onion into ½-inch-thick slices. Set the slices on top of the steak, then cover the container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium. Set the cheese in the freezer.

Remove the meat and onions from the marinade and pat dry. Brush everything with a thin coat of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

Place steak and onions on the cooking grate over direct heat and sear for 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the steak and onions and sear on the second side for another 6 to 8 minutes.

(Alternatively, you also can sear the steak and onions on a stovetop grill or grill pan for several minutes per side, then finish cooking in a 350-degree oven set on a rack over a sheet pan.)

Transfer the steak and onions to a platter. Remove the cheese from the freezer and use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to shave Boursin on top of the steak and onions. Cover with foil and set aside.

Brush each slice of bread with oil, then grill them until lightly toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Thinly slice the steak, then assemble sandwiches with the bread, steak and onions.

• Elizabeth Karmel is a grilling and Southern foods expert and executive chef at Hill Country Barbecue Market restaurants in New York and Washington, as well as Hill Country Chicken in New York.

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