Paradise, it is said, the rivers run golden with beer.
of bright green hops bow and sway with the gentle breezes.
The inhabitants hoist their steins high, steins that are
miraculously ever-filled with ale. Little trays of peanuts
and pretzels waft by on clouds.
the food? Much of the food is made with beer, too.
cooking with beer is not something that the rest of us —
those who live in the Paradise suburbs and beyond — do
very often. The reason is simple: Beer is generally bitter.
there are plenty of ways to work with this bitterness, or
work around it, to add a startling amount of depth to a
meal, and nearly endless variations of flavor. By using a
few simple tricks, you can negate the bitterness and coax
the beer to blend harmoniously with the dish.
can even make beer ice cream.
the most common method of cooking with beer and exploring
new horizons of taste is to simmer tough pieces of meat
gently in it for a long time.
and braises slowly cook off the bitterness while retaining
the essential flavor of the beer. At the same time, much
like wine, it also enhances the more appealing aspects the
best-known example of a beer stew is Carbonnades à la
Flamande, which was brought to this country almost
single-handedly by Julia Child. It is a beef stew, heady
with onions and the floral scent of Belgian beer. For many
Americans it represented the first time they saw that beer,
when treated in a specific way, can almost become sweet.
such a standard dish, and so well known, that I chose not to
make it. But I made something similar, Old-Style Chunky Beef
and Beer Stew With Onions, Peppers and Tomatoes.
the name is not the best. But the dish itself is sublime, a
subtle mixture of thoughtfully prepared ingredients that
blend irresistibly into a vibrant whole.
beef, obviously, cubes of chuck, that are simmered in a dark
beer. The onions, peppers and tomatoes listed in the title
add more sweetness than bite, with a single tablespoon of
brown sugar to fully overcome the lingering bitterness. The
other ingredients — thyme, bay leaves, cloves, garlic —
only add their aromatic magic.
I used beer to make a braise. A braise is very much like a
stew, except the meat is not entirely submerged in the
liquid; the beer only goes partly up the side of the meat.
this case, the meat was turkey and the dish was Beer-Braised
Turkey Tacos. The beer was Negra Modelo, a dark brew from
begin with dark meat, both for flavor and its ability to
stand up to braising. Turkey drumsticks or thighs (I used
drumsticks) are browned and then cooked in a mixture of
beer, water, onions, garlic, oregano and tomato.
extra ingredients make all the difference: a hot jalapeño
pepper, a mild and flavorful ancho pepper (it’s the dried
version of a poblano) and a stick of cinnamon. The peppers
and cinnamon create a warmth, rather than a heat, that
suffuses the meat and sauce and brings it all to life.
sure to serve it on corn tortillas. The corn is a perfect
foil for the still-assertive flavor of turkey that has been
tempered by its extraordinary sauce.
I made a loaf of bread. Bread is an obvious example of
cooking with beer because, when you think about it, beer is
basically just liquid bread.
made beer bread several different ways in the past, but my
favorite is the way they used to make it at the famous
Berghoff restaurant in Chicago. Depending on the type of
beer or ale you use, you can make the beer flavor of the
bread strong or mild, according to your taste.
taste is for it to be mild. I like a hint of beeriness to
the bread, not an overwhelming dose, so I used a Pilsner in
my version. Stronger ales lead to a loaf that tastes like
chewy beer, not beer-kissed bread.
way, it is phenomenal toasted or just with butter. It makes
a great bread for meat sandwiches, too. But jam? You’re
better off spreading that on a different loaf of bread.
could not end my adventures in beer-based cooking without
dessert. I made Guinness Ice Cream with Chocolate-Covered
ice cream parlors I could name serve Guinness ice cream that
does not actually have any Guinness in it. They simply make
a caramel flavor and slap the Guinness name on it to cash in
on the cachet.
true Guinness ice cream is made with actual Guinness stout.
And it tastes like it; you get a definite sense of ice cream
that has been made with Guinness. And for all the
descriptions of Guinness being creamy, it still is a little
a pleasant ice cream, but not much more than that — until
you add the chocolate-covered pretzels. The salt, the
crunch, the sweetness of the chocolate, these all take the
Guinness ice cream into the stratosphere.
one of those rare, perfect combinations. But then, beer
always did go well with pretzels.
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
(1-pound) bone-in turkey thighs or drumsticks, skin and fat
large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
medium white onion, cut into 1-inch dice, plus minced white
onion for serving
large oregano sprig
large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and sliced crosswise
medium tomato, coarsely chopped
ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
ounces Mexican dark beer, such as Negra Modelo
tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
a Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive
oil. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and cook over
moderately high heat until richly browned all over, about 8
minutes. Transfer the turkey to a plate.
the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot, along with the
garlic, diced onion, oregano and jalapeño and cook over
moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is
softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato, ancho and
cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, until the tomato releases
Return the turkey to the pot, add the beer and water and
bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, turning
once, until the turkey thighs are tender, about 1 hour.
Transfer the turkey to a plate and let cool. Discard the
oregano sprig and cinnamon stick and boil the sauce over
high heat until reduced and thick, about 12 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the tortillas in foil
and bake about 8 minutes, until softened and heated through.
Meanwhile, remove the turkey meat from the bone and shred
it. Transfer the sauce to a food processor and puree. Return
the sauce to the pot and stir in the shredded turkey. Season
with salt and pepper. Spoon the turkey onto the tortillas.
Top with minced onion, sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs, and
serving: 173 calories; 6 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 44 mg
cholesterol; 12 g protein; 17 g carbohydrate; 2 g sugar; 2 g
fiber; 11 mg sodium; 52 mg calcium.
by Deborah Schneider in Food & Wine.
all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
cups whole-wheat flour
(1/4-ounce) package rapid-rising active dry yeast
cup packed brown sugar
(12-ounce) beer of your choice, see note
tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for bowl and pan
Lighter beers, such as Pilsners and lagers, will create a
milder flavor. Heavier beers, such as red ales or dark
beers, will make a heartier bread.
the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle
attachment, place the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour,
yeast, salt and brown sugar. Mix on low speed. Add the beer
and oil, and mix on low to form a cohesive dough. Turn off
the mixer, scrape down the paddle and replace with the dough
hook. Knead the dough on low for 10 minutes, adding
all-purpose flour as necessary by the tablespoon for desired
consistency. The dough should leave the sides of the bowl
and cling to the dough hook. (This can also all be done by
hand — mix dry ingredients with a whisk, stir in the
liquid ingredients with a sturdy spoon and knead by hand).
Turn out the dough onto a surface lightly dusted with
all-purpose flour, and knead to shape into a ball. Lightly
oil a large bowl. Put in the dough, turning once so the
oiled side is on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise
in a warm place until doubled, 1 1/4 hours to 1 1/2 hours.
Turn out dough on a surface lightly dusted with all-purpose
flour, and knead to remove any air pockets. Shape into an
oblong loaf and place in an oiled 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
Cover with a lint-free, clean kitchen towel that has been
wetted and wrung almost dry. Let rise in a warm place until
doubled, about 1 hour.
While the loaf is rising the second time, preheat the oven
to 350 degrees.
Bake 40 minutes, until the top is browned. Transfer from the
pan to a wire rack. Do not slice until completely cool.
serving: 162 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; no
cholesterol; 4 g protein; 30 g carbohydrate; 3 g sugar; 2 g
fiber; 11 mg sodium; 294 mg calcium.
from "The Berghoff Family Cookbook," by Carlyn
Berghoff and Jan Berghoff, with Nancy Ross Ryan.
ICE CREAM WITH CHOCOLATE-COVERED PRETZELS
cups whole milk
large egg yolks
pretzels, for serving
a large saucepan, combine the Guinness with the cream and
milk and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. In a
large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Gradually
add the hot Guinness cream to the yolks, whisking constantly
Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate
heat, stirring constantly until it coats the back of a
spoon, about 6 minutes; do not let it boil. Pour the custard
into a medium bowl set in a large bowl filled with ice
water. Let stand until the custard is cold, stirring
occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze
according to the manufacturer’s instructions (this may
have to be done in 2 batches). Pack the ice cream into an
airtight container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
Serve with chocolate-covered pretzels.
serving (not including pretzels): 462 calories; 32 g fat; 18
g saturated fat; 419 mg cholesterol; 9 g protein; 33 g
carbohydrate; 30 g sugar; no fiber; 141 mg sodium; 60 mg
by Cory Barrett, in Food & Wine.
CHUNKY BEEF AND BEER STEW WITH ONIONS, PEPPERS AND TOMATOES
6 to 8 servings
tablespoons vegetable oil, or more if needed
pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
large onions, peeled and diced small
bell peppers (or a mix of red and green), cored, seeded and
tablespoons minced garlic
cups beef stock
ounces dark beer, or more if needed
whole canned tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
tablespoon dark brown sugar
teaspoons dried thyme
whole cloves, crushed
a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot with a lid, heat the
oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.
Dry the meat well with paper towels and sprinkle it
generously with salt and pepper. Place meat in the pot in a
single layer, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, and
brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer
the pieces to a platter as they are done.
Pour off the fat or add oil to the pot as needed so you have
a total of about 2 tablespoons in the pot. Add the onions
and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are translucent, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the garlic and
cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Return the meat to the pot along with any juices that have
accumulated on the platter, then add the stock, beer,
tomatoes, brown sugar, thyme, bay leaf and cloves, and stir
well to combine. (If the ingredients are not completely
covered, add enough extra beer to cover them.) Bring to a
simmer over medium heat and skim any scum off the top of the
liquid. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer
gently until the meat is fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When
the stew is done, skim any scum from the top of the liquid.
serving (based on 8): 363 calories; 17 g fat; 5 g saturated
fat; 116 mg cholesterol; 36 g protein; 14 g carbohydrate; 7
g sugar; 2 g fiber; 53 mg sodium; 294 mg calcium.
adapted from "How to Cook Meat," by Chris
Schlesinger and John Willoughby.