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Big problem with my gravy.

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Last night I made bangers and mash.  I thought it would be a great idea to make a guinness and onion gravy to go with it.  Unfortunately my gravy came out tasting more like gasoline than food.  It was inedible and unsalvagable.  I hope that by posting my recipe and process someone can help me figure out what went wrong?  And this is not a problem I've encountered once, sometimes my gravy comes out bitter and I can't figure out why.

 

1.  I sweated some onions in sausage drippings in a stainless steel pan.  I cooked them slowly for about 10-15 minutes until they began to caramlize.

2.  I add a pinch of dried thyme, a tsp of chicken Better Than Boullion, a pat of butter and a spoonful of flour and let that cook for about a minute.

3. I add a touch of water and a whole can of Guinness.  Also a shake of Worstcheshire sauce.

4. I reduced it slowly for about 15min.

 

Then I tasted it to adjust the seasoning and was horrified by the bitterness.  I added a little sugar.  it helped but the bitterness was still there.  Then I added a little dijon and some cream.  Still bitter.  Then a squirt of lemon.  Still bitter.  Finally I decided it was hopeless.  Where did I go wrong?

 

I have used Guinness very successfully in poaching corned beef and braising beef stew.  Why did it come out bitter?

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post #2 of 16
I think u used to much guinness? Try using less just for the taste...I work at an Irish pub. And put the bullion in the water making a chicken broth.
post #3 of 16

in my extremely limited experience with dark beers - they work great for braising, etc - but if overheated will produce very strong bitter flavors.

 

sounds like you did a roux and thinned it down with the beer - hard to think it had enough heat to set off the bitter taste without burning something else, but food for consideration.....

post #4 of 16
Shoulda used my onion and carrot gravy with the snags, KK biggrin.gif

I have never used beer in a gravy, only when cooking for a long time, eg in a casserole.
post #5 of 16

My theory is...

 

The beer was kept on heat too long, and became bitter.

That or the roux may have burned. 

 

For something to be so bitter the only explanation i can think of is the beer being cooked for too long, or something burning. 


Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 2/18/14 at 12:16pm

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post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiqueKuisine View Post
 

My theory is...

 

The beer was kept on heat too long, and became bitter.

 

 

This.

In my opinion  you can't reduce a Guinness.  Too strong.

Besides, it's a sin not to drink the Guinness, so you're paying the price of your (cooking) sins.

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post #7 of 16

I'm not very adventurous with my Guinness so the only three ways I've ever used it are;

 

1) In a pint glass

 

2) In a pint glass with Bass Ale

 

3) In Guinness Beef with Potato Boxty's.

 

Actually I did have it once in a Bloody Mary at an English Pub in Newport News and it was fantastic.

 

Anyhow, I did try it once with a variation on the Guinness Beef substituting chicken to make it more healthy. The Chicken was too subtle for the strong Guinness. It was not inedible but it wasn't my cup of tea. I believe it really works best with beef and something else that helps is the braising/stewing process with the carrots and onions. They do break down into the sauce and help to soften the bitterness of the Guinness.

 

I've never used it in a pan sauce because of the quick need and higher heat. However, if I did, I would use it with some pureed carrots and onion in the pan ahead and also substitute beef stock. I use the Kitchen Basics with Better than Bouillon base to enhance. Basically it's used in place of the salt. See if that helps.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post

This.
In my opinion  you can't reduce a Guinness.  Too strong.
Besides, it's a sin not to drink the Guinness, so you're paying the price of your (cooking) sins.
Guinness has made sub a nice gravy in slow braises that I thought for sure this would work! I guess I was wrong. I'm sure it was the beer. I mean can you really see me burning a roux??

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post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Please share @Ishbel!

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post #10 of 16

Guinness is very strong. I'd suggest either using less Guinness or using a lighter beer. Maybe a Belgian style wheat beer?

post #11 of 16

the problem was the worcestershire sauce,imo.when you look at the main ingredients-malt vinegar,spirit vinegar,tamarind & some lemons,there's a lot of sour/bitter flavours in there.it's powerful stuff & even a shake can come through in the final dish.plus,if it wasn't lea & perrins(the original & best)that can make things worse.only place i use wooster sauce is in a bloody mary or marie rose sauce.

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post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPaul View Post
 

the problem was the worcestershire sauce,imo.when you look at the main ingredients-malt vinegar,spirit vinegar,tamarind & some lemons,there's a lot of sour/bitter flavours in there.it's powerful stuff & even a shake can come through in the final dish.plus,if it wasn't lea & perrins(the original & best)that can make things worse.only place i use wooster sauce is in a bloody mary or marie rose sauce.

 

I don't work with it often but it was in the recipe I used, and in many of the recipes I looked at.  A drop or 2 can cause this much bitterness?  I have a hard time believing that.

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post #13 of 16

The liquid portion of your gravy was primarily from Guinness. After 15 minutes of cooking, 40% of the alcohol is still retained which is probably the reason for the taste perception of gasoline. 2 1/2 hours of cooking time would bring that percentage down to 5%, which is why Guinness seems to produce a different flavor in braises and such. It is a result of longer cooking time reducing the percentage of retained alcohol.

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post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

The liquid portion of your gravy was primarily from Guinness. After 15 minutes of cooking, 40% of the alcohol is still retained which is probably the reason for the taste perception of gasoline. 2 1/2 hours of cooking time would bring that percentage down to 5%, which is why Guinness seems to produce a different flavor in braises and such. It is a result of longer cooking time reducing the percentage of retained alcohol.

 

And there you have it!

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post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

 

And there you have it!

 

Your basic recipe sounded very good though and I agree with others you should try a beer that is less dark. I find Guinness rather disgusting myself .. which is a shame since I have so much Irish in me, but the reason I don't care for it is how much bitterness it has, it is very tanic.

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'll stay away from beer altogether.  Eastshores, it's a shame you don't like Guinness - I simply hate drinking beer myself but pouring a can of Guinness in a long braise in beef stew makes the most famous wonderful brown gravy.  It's an experience.

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