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Cooking with Beer as an Ingredient


Chris Amirault
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Every once in a while a guest will bring over a six-pack of beers that we don't quite make our way through at dinner. We're then often stuck with those bottles rattling around the fridge for a few weeks as we're not big beer drinkers and tend to have particular preferences when we do quaff.

This morning I realized that there were probably a lot of good uses to which we could put those brews. What are some good dishes besides beer-battered fish? Any swell braises, for example?

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Hard to beat beer as an additionto a gravy.

I often use a bottle ( or two ) as a simmering liquid in my crockpot for corned beef or pulled pork.

There are also plenty of good recipes for breads that use beer.

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It really depends on the beer. As somebody with particular preferences, you clearly know that... so why are you asking for recipes with "generic beer" as an ingredient when there really aren't recipes (except maybe beer batter) where the flavor profile of the beer doesn't matter?

If your friends are leaving you Coors Lite it would lend itself to different applications than if they're leaving you Hopzilla Imperial IPA. The former would be a slightly grainy substitute for water in a braise maybe... the latter would need to be carefully considered because its intense bitterness would need to be carefully complemented in any dish you used it in...

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Walnut beer bread.

Great with cheese.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

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beer burgers

I have an old cookbook called The Beer Makes it Better cookbook and there's all kinds of interesting things in there including, beer baked chicken, honeyed spareribs, spicy pork chops, beer glazed ham, and beer braised pork.

Marlene

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Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Welsh Rabbit. Yes, the taste of the beer *can* matter, but of course this recipe is something often put together quickly for families or children, so . . . maybe we can excuse a bit of imperfection in using one sort of beer rather than another with finesse.

I used to make beer and honey glazed ribs with sage and chili. Country-style ribs. Simmer beer, honey, fresh sage, chili powder, mustard, a dash of Worcestershire, S & P together to blend. Cool and use as marinade and glaze.

While searching to see if that recipe was on-line, I came across this one: Homer Simpson's Duff Beer Marinade.

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Again depending upon what beer you have........however a good dish is the Flemish classic 'carbonnade de boeuf à la flamande', basically beef braised in beer. Also to integrate it with Carrot Top's suggestion you could serve it with Welsh rarebit croutons. That should use up your surplus.

Now if your fridge is full of stout, e.g. Guiness etc, the recipes are endless.

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If it's a stout, there are a few desserts that call for stout, ranging from the more traditional (e.g., Guinness Stout brownies) to the modern (e.g., Johnny Iuzzini did a dessert with Guinness and pretzels at Nougatine).

I wonder about using beer in a quick-reduced pan sauce, in lieu of wine. Might require some experimentation, but there does seem to be a potential application there.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I use beer in shrimp or crawfish etouffee. I use it in onion ring batter. I tried it instead of wine in my wild mushroom soup just out of curiosity and I do it that way all of the time now. It's a subtle difference but I liked it and so did everybody else that tried it. I have a batch of Guinness ice cream with caramelized cocoa nibs in the freezer that I made over the weekend. A scoop or three in a glass of stout or porter makes a nice float. Beer sabayon is different but tasty, I use it with gingerbread in which I use barley malt syrup instead of molasses.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I realized only after starting to make my risotto that the white wine I was planning on using had turned. Fortunately, there was a nice bottle of crisp Belgian ale in my fridge that I used in its place that saved the day (and the dish). It definitely tasted different, but it was just as good.

I'm also a big fan of using beer in chili as well.

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I too, have used beer in chili. I don't see that anyone's mentioned beer brats (I live in WI, so I have to put that out there).

I don't generally have the problem you do. Theres only been 1 beer I've tried that absolutely couldn't drink, and it was when I was still in college!

Wisconsin Club - ack.

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It really depends on the beer.  As somebody with particular preferences, you clearly know that... so why are you asking for recipes with "generic beer" as an ingredient when there really aren't recipes (except maybe beer batter) where the flavor profile of the beer doesn't matter?

Not sure if your question is generic, but: I didn't ask for recipes with "generic beer" in them. I was hoping that folks would reply as they have, with a range of responses that included a variety of brews, from stouts to ales to pilsners. For example, we currently have a variety pack from Saranac that includes these six brews and one Smuttynose Portsmouth lager.

Keep the ideas comin'!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Your question was akin to asking "I've got some spare wine. What recipes have wine in them?" Then you don't tell us whether you've got Sauturnes, Vinho Verde, Malbec or Beaujolais. You'll admit that asking for recipes with "wine" in, is a pretty generic question, no? Exactly the same for beer. No good answers will come without specificity as to what you've got. And "ales" is as generic a term as "beers".

The Portsmouth lager would be fine in a welsh rarebit sort of melty cheese thing. I wouldn't do a stout in that recipe, though. For bigger hoppier brews, I'd do a stew with lots of bittersweet root vegetables like turnips and parsnips... maybe marinate the meat in the beer before adding the lot to a slow pot to cook for a long time. Lamb and guinness is a classic stewing combination.

If somebody left you a sour beer, its would be the candidate for a quick pan deglazing... it has less hop bitterness to concentrate as it boils down and an acidity that would work nicely in a pan sauce. Wheat beers would fit in this category too, as they're generally lightly hopped.

Not sure if your question is generic, but: I didn't ask for recipes with "generic beer" in them. I was hoping that folks would reply with a range of responses that included a variety of brews, from stouts to ales to pilsners. For example, we currently have a variety pack from Saranac that includes these six brews and one Smuttynose Portsmouth lager.

Keep the ideas comin'!

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I too, have used beer in chili.  I don't see that anyone's mentioned beer brats (I live in WI, so I have to put that out there).

I don't generally have the problem you do.  Theres only been 1 beer I've tried that absolutely couldn't drink, and it was when I was still in college!

Wisconsin Club - ack.

I'll simmer my brats in beer and onions for a bit before finishing them off on the grill.

Also, sometimes, occasionally, once in a while when I'm cooking up some chicken or pork in a pan to throw into tacos I'll deglaze with beer and then pour that on the meat prior to eating the tacos.

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I also simmer brats or Polish sausage in beer, but additionally I have used beer (all kinds except stout) to cook down onions. I let it get all syrupy and use that to serve alongside the brats/sausages. Kinda like a beer/onion confit.

I like the Gramercy Tavern Guinness Stout cake, and Guinness stew.

How about Wisconsin Beer Cheese soup? Yummy.

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This was something I made as a free sample for customers at my last job:

Porter syrup and roasted pineapple:

Cook porter down (not on a high boil, if possible) until almost syrupy; eyeball how much porter reduction you have, and add about a third as much sugar as that, by volume.

For myself, I actually like to use Dogfish Head's IPAs, but Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter has a broader appeal. The syrup should have a really full complex flavor, the kind of thing that develops on your tongue, and then keeps developing when you think it's finished.

Drizzle over roasted pineapple -- fresh pineapple, cut into chunks, roasted and occasionally basted with pineapple juice until it's become drier and denser, with noticeable browning.

When I used to cater small informal parties, the roasted pineapple was a must-have and the fastest thing to go, and people will eat damn near anything on it -- but the combination of tartness and the caramelized flavor from the roasting really does go well with the porter syrup.

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New Orleans classic, Barbecued Shrimp

Also, must confess... my mother always put beer in her hair (to condition?) and when I grew older it took me awhile to understand the concept of beer as a beverage instead of a hair product.

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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I use beer in my marinades for cheap steaks and chicken.

 

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