Monday, 17 September 2018

Cooking with booze: Stout-battered smoked haddock and chips recipe

It's officially autumn and the nights are starting to draw in. And what's synonymous with colder evenings? Traditional comfort food, that's what! And it doesn't get better than this.

Earlier this year I ended up in Dublin; and had what can only be described as the most incredible Fish & Chips at the renowned Burdocks in the heart of Temple Bar. It may have been that I'd had a few too many pints of Guinness by 5pm, but I'm pretty sure the fish was still awesome.

So, to tie in with the release of two 'Craft' style, old recipe Porters from Guinness, I've decided to combine the two.

I'm always on the look out for exceptional 'pub food' ideas, and the secret to the most amazing fish & chips was the substitution of plain, ordinary haddock for tasty, smoked haddock. Now, as everybody knows, smoked food is better than normal food (e.g. BACON), and so, here is my recipe for stout-battered smoked haddock and chips. 


1 teaspoon of bicarb, for light, fluffy batter
1/2 bottle Dublin Porter, or any other stout
250g plain flour
Black pepper
2 fillets of smoked haddock
King Edward potatoes
Vegetable oil

1. Cut your potatoes into 1cm thick chips, leaving the skin on. Leave them to soak for ten minutes in warm water to remove excess starch. This will make sure you have nice crispy chips.

2. Pop them on the hob in clean, salted water and bring them to the boil. Remove them just before the skins start to come away from the potato. Drain off and transfer the chips onto paper towel to dry.

3. Make your batter by mixing the flour with the bicarb, whisk in half the beer, and stir in the rest (you want it to be nice and bubbly so you have a fluffy batter). Add a pinch of salt and some pepper.

4. Pop the chips in the fryer at 180 degrees C for ten minutes. Drain off on paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt.

5. If, like me, you like your fish battered in goujons, slice each fillet into two or three lengthways and dust them all over in flour. Dip each in the batter and deep fry at 180 degrees C for six-seven minutes, or until a rich brown colour. Drain on paper towel and serve with a bottle of Sarsons.

What I loved about using the porter is that the batter has a distinct bitterness to it, which complements the smoky flavour of the fish brilliantly. I used Dublin Porter for the batter as it didn't have enough to offer on the palate, and had quite a strong carbonation (perfect for the batter). The West Indies Porter was a much better match to eat with, as it offered a nice sweetness to balance with the batter, complex flavour to cut through the oil and a decent strength at 6%.

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