If you’re a beer lover, chances are that what you love in your glass, you will love cooking with as well.
If you have a recipe that requires wine, why not change it up and add a pint of your favorite brew? Less acidic than wine, beer tenderizes meat without breaking down the texture. From breads and batters to soups and stews, beer can add a unique depth of flavours. Once you understand the different flavours of various beers, you can let your imagination take over and be creative.
Pale ale makes a perfect addition to batter for cod, halibut and salmon. The yeast in the beer provides a fluffy coating and crisp exterior. It is also wonderful in cheese based soups such as a broccoli and aged cheddar soup.
If you prefer white or wheat beer, try using it in a dressing for salad or a demi sauce on fish. It is wonderful with mussels and a bit of garlic and leeks. The crisp citrus flavours compliment the mussels without being overpowering.
The toasty flavours of coffee and chocolate in Stout make it a perfect beer to use in everything from a hearty seafood chowder to a rich Irish stew. Beef short ribs, slow cooked in this dark beer are amazingly tender. Stout can also be used in making lush, moist and chocolaty desserts, like a Guinness chocolate cake. While it sounds outlandish, this rich cake is outstanding.
Beer can also be a great marinade for chicken, beef, pork or lamb. Why not marinate your next steak in a nutty brown ale? The pan juices can be reduced and drizzled over the steak as a sauce.
Or perhaps you’d like to be more adventurous and creative. Here’s a fantastic recipe for a pan fried chicken that will get your taste buds going.
Marinade chicken breasts for several hours in a bottle of fruit beer, such as a raspberry ale. Add a minced onion and the juice and zest from one lime. After 2 – 3 hrs remove the marinade and brown the chicken in a heavy skillet for 5 – 6 minutes. Add a few minced garlic cloves, some minced fresh rosemary and another half bottle of raspberry ale. Cover and let braise for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken and finish cooking, uncovered, until the pan juices have reduced to the thickness of syrup. Serve on a bed of rice with steamed fresh vegetables or a fresh green salad.
Cooking with beer can turn a regular weekday meal into a gourmet delight. It doesn’t have to be complicated or daunting. It’s quite simply one of the best ingredients to work with, plus the added bonus of being delicious to drink as well. Bon appétit!