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

While this recipe is decidedly not authentic corned beef and cabbage, it's still beef. 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. (Freeze the cheese to make it easier to shave.)

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.

> Guinness-Marinated Flank Steak Sandwiches

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

1 can Guinness beer (14.9 ounces)

2 large red onions, cut into 1/2 -inch slices

1 small container Boursin cheese

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

8 thick slices sourdough or country bread

Prep: Pat steak dry, then set it in a glass or stainless steel container with a tight cover. Pour the Guinness over the steak and set aside. Cut the onion into 1/2 -inch-thick slices. Set the slices on top of the steak, then cover the container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

To cook: 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 (put on skewer for ease of cooking) on the 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.

(You also can sear the steak and onions on a stovetop grill or in a 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. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, shave Boursin on top of the steak and onions. Cover with foil and set aside.

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

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 1,250 calories; 380 calories from fat (30 percent of total calories); 42g fat;155mg cholesterol; 121g carbohydrate; 88g protein; 6g fiber; 1,870 mg sodium.