Cooking with Beer!
This is not a new idea but one that is certainly catching on…
Now, cooking with beer can mean a cold brew in one hand and the barbecue tongs in the other but, how about beer as an ingredient in the food itself. Many chefs will tell you beer is a better, more versatile ingredient than that other popular alcoholic ingredient, wine; depending of course on the dish being prepared.
Beer can provide rich sweet flavors from the malt and bitter herbal flavors from the hops. It adds lightness and fluffiness to biscuits, pancakes, cakes, breads and is a very common ingredient in many batters for frying. Beer batter fish, shrimp, chicken, veggies, you name it, if it is battered, beer makes it better! How about fried pickles with beer batter? Dats good eatin’ right there!
As a marinade for meat, poultry, fish and seafood, it tenderizes. For roasting, baking, and broiling, use beer as an ingredient in the basting sauce to add a rich dark color. Use beer in place of water as a simmering liquid to bring out the flavor of meats and vegetables. Boil your brats or other sausage in beer for a few minutes before cooking on the grill – perfect!
I have made a First-Place winning chili with oatmeal stout, beef and buffalo; as well as an excellent green chili using honey wheat ale and tomatillos. I would like to do that again with an agave wheat ale. Damn, I wish I had written down the recipes for both of those but, I was winging it at the time. I would wager that is what most good cooks do.
Mussels steamed in garlic and wine are great…how about mussels steamed in garlic and Saison? Even better!
Lambics and sour ales can take the place of, or compliment vinegar in salad dressings!
And, I think we have all heard of Beer Can Chicken…yum!
Add some beer to your favorite BBQ sauce, one, it will cut the sweetness of most bottled sauces; two, it will help prevent the sauce from burning as easily on the grill; and three, it tastes great.
Make a Beer Float with vanilla ice cream and fruity Lambic like Lindemans!
One of my favorite quick beer inspired and infused treats on the grill is Portobello mushroom caps. These big beefy mushrooms are no stranger to the grill. Here is how I like to do them:
Grilled Sour Ale Portobello
Wash the mushrooms and remove the stem. Let water drain from the ribs on the underside of the caps. Spray the mushrooms top and bottom lightly with spray cooking oil, Canola or Olive. With the ribbed side up, pour a little sour ale or Belgian Saison, about a tablespoon depending on the size of the mushroom, into the cap. Lightly sprinkle a little garlic powder, salt and pepper, and, if you like, place 3 or 4 jalapeno slices or some fresh basil and cover liberally with shredded cheese like cheddar, jack, mozzarella, swiss, or whatever you have. Place on a medium-high grill (cheesy side up of course) until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy with a nice piece of steak marinated in the sour ale as well. The alcohol and acidic properties of the ale are a great tenderizer and add a bit of aged earthiness to the meat
Basic Craft Beer Batter
Use to batter anything you would deep fry; shrimp, fish, chicken, jalapenos, veggies, or….Whatever!
1/2 cup amber beer
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 Tbs. melted butter
Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks in a bowl and add 1 cup of flour. Add the beer and butter, and whisk until smooth.
If too runny, add a bit more flour. If too thick, add a bit more beer.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold gently into the batter.
Here are a few more recipes with beer for you to ponder and perhaps fire up for dinner:
Big Beer & Beef Stew
Suggested Guru Brews: Sparrow Hawk Porter, Pumpernickel Stout, Malabar Bay Stout
2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cubed into 1 inch chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
7 red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 large turnip, peeled and diced
2 oz. olive oil
1 cup Porter or Stout
2 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/3 cup fresh minced parsley
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1. In large 1-gallon Dutch oven pot, place olive oil in bottom of pot, and
brown cubes of meat in small batches, removing each batch to a warmed bowl.
2. In the same pot, add onion, celery, garlic and carrot – stir and sauté
over medium heat until onion is translucent.
3. Add beer and stock. Add browned beef with reserved juices, tomato paste
and herbs. Cook until meat is tender. Stir well, then add potatoes and
turnips. Cook until vegetables are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt
and pepper to taste, and serve with Porter or Stout.
Here is another take on beef stew:
Beef & Beer Stew
Credit: Nancy Elmont, The Four Seasons Cookbook
Suggested Guru Brews: Newcastle Brown Ale, Bellhaven Scottish Ale, Samuel Adams Scotch Ale
- 6 strips bacon
- 5 cups thinly sliced onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 3 lbs boneless beef trimmed and cut in 1 inch chunks
- 2 T flour
- 16 oz beer
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain. Pour off all but 1/4 cup bacon drippings. Add onions and garlic to pan, sauté until onions are tender. Remove onions from pan. Pour oil into pan and stir in beef, cooking until meat is well browned on all sides. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Return onions to pan, pour in beer and stock, add sugar, thyme, bay leaves, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer slowly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until meat is tender. Skim off any excess fat before serving. Crumble bacon and serve as garnish on stew.
Beer Cured Bacon
Suggested Guru Brews: Dirty Bastard Stout, Black Jack Stout, Chocolate Cherry Stout or, go lighter with Maple Wheat Ale or Honey Rye Weizen.
Recipe for 1 lb bacon, double, triple, etc. for more pounds.
- 1 lb pork belly slab, skin removed
- 3 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 4 T maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp pink salt (available at specialty food stores or perhaps your local butcher)
- 12 oz stout or porter or ?
Make sure all utensils and work areas are clean and sanitary. The bacon will be curing for 10 days in the refrigerator so cleanliness is important.
Combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add beer and maple syrup and whisk until well blended.
Place the pork in a shallow non-reactive pan or large zip-lock bag. Pour the cure over the pork making sure all sides come in contact. Store in refrigerator and flip every 2-3 days. After 10 days it will be ready for the smoker.
Smoke with your choice or a blend of hickory, apple, cherry, or pecan wood.
Remove pork from cure and let excess drip off. Place in smoker and smoke at 250°F for 2-3 hours until internal temperature of bacon reaches 160°F. You now have bacon!
Shrimp & Sausage Beer Gumbo
Suggested Guru Brew: Pinon Nut Brown, Jamaican Stout, Chipotle Cerveza, Casabella Bock
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 cup flower
- 2 cups diced onion
- 2 cups diced green pepper
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 cups sliced okra (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 6 plum or roma tomatoes, peeled and diced (can use fresh or canned)
- 1 T salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 T gumbo file powder
- 12 oz amber, brown, Scottish or other malty beer
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb andouille sausage cut in 1/4 inch slices and browned in oil (if not into sausage substitute chicken)
- 1 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup scallion, thinly sliced
- rice (for serving)
Prep all ingredients so they are ready before you start making roux.
In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot heat the oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute, add flour and stir slowly but constantly making sure to scrape the bottom. Do not let the flour burn. Flour will start to darken to a caramel color, reduce heat to medium. Keep stirring until roux is the color of peanut butter, recuce heat to medium low. Keep stirring until roux is the color of milk chocolate. This should take a total of 25-30 minutes.
Add onion, celery, peppers, garlic and bay leaves. Stir into roux and return heat to medium-high. Cook for 5-7 minutes until onion are translucent. Stir in tomatoes, okra, and remaining spices and herbs. Slowly add beer and stock stirring constantly. When liquid comes to simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 35 minutes.
Add sausage and shrimp, cook stirring regularly until shrimp turns pink. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve over rice and top with sliced scallions.
Beer Cheese Soup
Suggested Guru Brews: Full Sail Ale, Winky Dink Marzen, Sweet English Blonde, Broadmoor Amber
- 1 bunch celery, chopped
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 1 T crushed garlic
- 1 lb butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 T smoked paprika
- 2 qts chicken stock
- 3 pints amber ale
- 1 qt heavy cream
- 1 1/2 lb mild cheddar, shredded
- 1/2 lb fontina, shredded
- 1 oz Worcestershire
Sauté celery, onion, and garlic in butter until translucent. Add flour and paprika while stirring, forming a roux. Allow to brown slightly but do not burn. Add chicken stock and continue stirring until mix reaches boil. Strain out veggies and bring stock back to boil. Add beer and bring back to boil. Stir in cream and bring to a scald. Slowly add cheese, stirring until cheese has melted and is fully incorporated. Stir in Worcestershire. Makes 1 1/2 gallons. (I don’t know why you would remove the veggies. I would put it all in a food processor at that point and blend until smooth.)
Coconut Porter Brussel Sprouts
Suggested Guru Brews: Cocoa Coconut Porter, Highlander Cream Stout, Bitch’s Brew Oatmeal Stout
- 3 T coconut oil
- 2 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed & halved
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 cup porter or stout
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sprouts in a single layer, cut side down until golden brown. Add additional oil if necessary between batches. Remove sp[routs from pan and set aside. Add shallots to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add beer and maple syrup and whisk until mix comes to a simmer and starts to reduce and thicken. Transfer to a serving dish and top with coconut.
Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets Stuffed with Beer Cheese
Suggested Guru Brews: :Lemongrass Helles, Wild Mild Steam Beer, Dusseldorf Alt
For the Beer Cheese:
- 1 16 oz block cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 12 oz Beer of choice
For the Nuggets:
- 2 cups thin pretzels, pulsed to breadcrumb consistency
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Nonstick cooking spray
In a large bowl, toss the grated cheddar cheese with the cornstarch to coat evenly.
In a medium saucepan, combine the beer, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce over medium heat.
Once the beer mixture has warmed up, start adding the cheddar cheese, a handful at a time. Add a bit, stir it until completely melted, then add more. Gradually adding the cheese keeps you from getting a lumpy mess, and prevents cheese from burning on the bottom.
Remove the pot from the heat and let come to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
While the beer cheese cools and solidifies, prepare the nuggets. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until they are the size of breadcrumbs. Remove and set aside. Still using the food processor, combine the chicken, garlic powder, and onion powder. Pulse until well combined and moldable.
Remove the meat from the food processor. Shape into small nugget-sized balls and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Remove the beer cheese from the refrigerator. It should be solid at this point.
Using a spoon, shape the beer cheese into small balls, about 1/2 of the size of your chicken nugget balls. Then, flatten the chicken nuggets slightly and place the cheese ball in the center. Form the chicken around the cheese, making sure to cover completely Flatten slightly to make the chicken nugget shape.
In three separate bowls, set out the flour, pretzels, and eggs. Coat the chicken nuggets in the flour, then the egg, and then the pretzel crumbs. Make sure to cover entirely. Once covered, place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all of the nuggets have been crusted. Lightly spray the nuggets with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake 8 minutes, flip the nuggets over, spray the side facing up, and turn the tray. Continue baking for an additional 8 minutes, or until the pretzels have slightly browned and the chicken is cooked through. Serve warm with mustard.
Pale Ale Bacon, Cheddar, and Onion Quiche Recipe
Suggested Guru Brews: Full Sail Ale, Bullhead Fury Pale Ale, Chipotle Cerveza
Quiche Crust (Pâte Brisée)
- 2½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces and chilled
½ cup ice water
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar and mix well. Add the chilled butter and process until the dough looks mealy. Slowly add chilled water until the dough just comes together. Remove from the processor, cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the refrigerator to a floured work surface. Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick and lay into a 9-inch pie pan.
- 6 oz bacon, cooked and chopped
4 oz cheddar, shredded
½ cup red onion, julienned
1 cup pale ale
1 cup half-and-half
Preheat oven to 325°F. Arrange the bacon, cheddar, and onion evenly over the quiche crust. Combine the eggs, beer, half & half, and a pinch of salt and pour the mixture over the bacon, cheddar, and onion. Bake for 30–35 minutes, until the quiche is set.
Soft Beer Pretzels
Suggested Guru Brews: Wostyntje Belgian Mustard Ale, Broadmoor Amber, Full Sail Ale
- 12 oz amber beer
- 1 pkg active dry yeast
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted
- 2 T sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 cups flower
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- Topping: 1 egg yolk, 1 T water, coarse salt
In a small saucepan heat beer to 110°; remove from heat. stir in yeast until dissolved. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt, yeast mixture, and 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft sticky dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and turn once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 425°. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape dough into 8 balls; roll each into a 24″ rope. Form into pretzel shapes, pinching the ends to seal shape together.
In a Dutch oven, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels, 2 at a time, into boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds and remove and drain well on paper towel.
Place pretzels 2″ apart on a greased baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and water; brush over pretzels; sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. remove from pans to cool. Serve with mustard.
Coffee Stout and Chocolate Bread Pudding
Suggested Guru Brews: Double Black Hook, 3 Bean Stout
- 1 package of croissant dough
- 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 cup of coffee stout
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 3 egg yolks
Bake the croissants according to package instructions. Cool and then cut into 1-inch triangle pieces.
Change the oven temperature to 325°F for the rest of the cooking. Place croissant pieces on a baking tray and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to dry out the bread. Then, transfer the bread pieces to an 8-inch square baking dish and pour the beer over the bread.
Meanwhile, stir together the cream, scrapings from the vanilla bean, bean pod and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat immediately, discarding the vanilla bean pod.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Gradually add the hot cream to the eggs while maintaining a continuous whisk to avoid scrambling the eggs.
Tuck the chocolate into the bread. Pour the cream over the bread. Bake in a water bath for 35-40 minutes.
Stout Ice Cream
Credit: Emeril Lagasse
Suggested Guru Brews: Double Black Hook, 3 Bean Stout, Blackberry Porter, Coco Coconut Porter, Chocolate Cherry Stout, Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (Emeril uses Guinness)
- 12 oz stout or porter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 egg yolks
Simmer the beer in saucepan until reduced by three-fourths.
Combine the cream, milk, and sugar in a medium-heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and add the bean halves. Bring to a gentle boil and remove from heat.
Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks. Gradually add the egg mixture in slow steady stream to the hot cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 170°. Remove from heat and strain into a clean container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to keep a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Remove from refrigerator and add the beer reduction, whisking until well blended. Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve with a quality chocolate sauce.
Not using beer for this one, just Hops & honey.
Ingredients: 2 cups honey, 1/4 oz hop pellets (use bright citrusy varieties like Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, or any of the “C” hops)
Place honey and hops in a double boiler with water in the bottom. Bring water to boil and heat honey to 185°. Cook for 10 minutes.
Remove honey from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Drizzle over biscuits, pancakes or waffles or strain into a sterilized jar while still hot and seal.
Well, there you have it. A double handful of recipes I found interesting; some I have tried, some I have not. In general, the beer is replacing all or a portion of another liquid used in the recipe and adding whole lotta flavor. If you have an idea that sounds good, try it!
Check out the websites I have credited as the source of each recipe for more tantalizing ideas and…
Keep on Brewin’…and cookin’
For more recipes, click here: More Recipes…with Beer!