Tastings School - Food for thought

Tastings School

From basics to more advanced topics, the Beer School has all the info to expand your knowledge and enjoyment of your beers, ales and lagers.

Categories

Food for thought

We've talked about which beers to pair with your meal, but which beers should you use in your meal? Ben McFarland provides some recipes

Like Gordon Ramsay when he’s in a particularly grumpy mood, beer isn’t always the easiest thing to work with in the kitchen.

While masters of the culinary arts are forever sloshing wine into their gastronomic efforts, they tend not to reach for the can or bottle of beer with quite the same regularity.

Yes, the grain may be giving the grape a run for its money when it comes to accompanying fine food, but when it comes to playing an integral part in its creation, beer’s role rarely stretches beyond the cameo variety.

“The flavours within beer are very strong so when you’re cooking with beer you have to treat it with respect and be very careful,” said Marcus Lane, chef and proprietor at the Rafters Restaurant in Sheffield.

“There are so many different flavours to balance and the danger is that you can get too much bitterness or sharpness but if you experiment and get the right balance it really works.” Marcus often teams up with the neighbouring and extremely innovative Kelham Island Brewery – home to the award-winning Pale Rider ale – and hosts a banquet of dishes using beer.

“Until I worked with Kelham Island, I’d rarely considered cooking with beer,” he said. “But, inspired by their enthusiasm and innovation, I really got into it and now firmly believe that beer can work just as well as wine.” You may say he’s a dreamer, but he’s not the only one. Forward thinking brewers are coming up with beer-based recipes that propel the concept well beyond the realms of a steak and ale pie.

From tempura to sorbet and risotto to tiramisu, beer can step up to the hot plate and add an extra hop-inspired dimension to one’s cooking.

Unconvinced? Well, I suggest you chance your culinary arm at one or all of the following recipes that, when put together, amount to an eyebrow-raising beer feast.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND ORGANIC HONEY DEW SOUP

Ingredients:

250ml Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
200g carrots, peeled and chopped
50ml olive oil
50g butter
2 large onions,
chopped 1 teaspoon ginger,
chopped 1 teaspoon garlic,
chopped 1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1/2 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods (place in tied muslin bag)
1 litre vegetable stock

Method: In a large pan gently sweat the ginger, garlic and onions in the olive oil and butter until soft. Add the butternut squash, carrots and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Tie the bay leaf, thyme, cinnamon and cardamom pods in a muslin bag and add to the pan Gently simmer until the vegetables are soft.

Add the Organic Honey Dew and bring back to the boil Remove from heat, remove muslin bag and liquidise the remainder. Adjust the thickness with a little Organic Honey Dew if necessary. Season to taste and serve.

MANNS BEEF STEW

Ingredients

2 1/2 lbs shin of beef
3 tbsps seasoned flour
1 oz butter
3 red onions
2 oz chopped bacon
3 small sticks of celery, chopped
A small handful of rosemary leaves.
2 pints of Manns Brown Ale
1/2 pt water
2 parsnips
2 carrots
4 potatoes, all peeled and roughly chopped to the casserole.

Method: Chunk the beef and sprinkle with the flour.

Heat the butter in a pan and fry the beef to brown and transfer to a casserole. Fry the red onions and chopped bacon until tenderised. Add celery and rosemary leaves and transfer to the casserole over the beef. Pour in the Manns Brown Ale and water. Add parsnips, carrots and potatoes. Season, put the lid on and cook slowly for two hours, or until the beef is tender.

BEER GLAZED ONION TARTLETS

Ingredients
225g shortcrust pastry
4-5 red onions, chopped fairly small
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Oil and butter for cooking
150ml Worthington’s White Shield Black,
stoneless olives and cherry tomatoes

Method: Roll out the pastry thinly, cut out approx 20 rounds with a 7.5 cm fluted cutter and use to line non-stick tart tins. Heat a little oil and butter in a frying pan, add red onions and garlic and cook very gently until the onions start to soften. Add the Worthington’s White Shield, stir and continue cooking very gently for about 15 minutes, until the mixture turns to a think onion marmalade (you don’t need seasoning – the beer adds the spiciness). Leave to cool. Fill each tart around three quarters full with the mixture, place an olive or cherry tomato in the centre of each and bake towards the top of a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and the filling hot. Serve hot or cold.

DEEP FRIED PRAWNS IN BEER BATTER

Ingredients
1 dozen uncooked tiger prawns, head and shells removed leaving tail on
175g plain flour
175ml Leffe Blond
50ml milk
1 egg
15g melted butter
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Seasoned flour for coating

Method: To make the batter, add the egg and the beer to the milk, whisking until smooth. Then whisk in the melted butter and finally the flour and seasoning. Rest for 30 mins. You can now prepare the prawns while the batter is resting. Remove heads and shells from the prawns, make a shallow cut along the back of the prawn and remove the dark vein that runs along the length. Pre-heat the fryer to 185ºc, make sure that the fish is as dry as possible, coat with the seasoned flour, dip in the batter and then carefully place into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown and drain well.

CHICKEN TAGINE WITH LEMON & OLIVES

This Moroccan classic takes on a Dorset twist with the addition of the zesty Badger Stinger Ale in the marinade.
Serve with Couscous or rice

Ingredients
One chicken, cut into 8 portions
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps chermoula spice (cumin, turmeric)
2 bay leaves
1/2 bottle Badger Stinger Ale
4 garlic cloves chopped
2 onions, thinly sliced
pinch saffron
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 chilli, chopped (optional)
1 pkt chopped coriander
1 pkt chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
100g green Spanish olives
3 lemons, or preserved lemons, quartered

Method: Rub the chicken pieces with the chermoula spice mix, then stir in 1/4 bottle Stinger Ale. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Heat the olive oil in a thick bottomed frying pan and brown the chicken on all sides.

Remove the chicken, then add the onions to the oil and fry until golden. Add chopped garlic and tomatoes together with the saffron and bay leaves. Transfer the onion mixture and the chicken to a Tagine or deep casserole, add the chilli, coriander, parsley, seasoning and the remaining 1/4 bottle of Stinger Ale. Cook in a slow oven for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven, and stir in the olives and the quartered lemons. Serve immediately.

BEER & BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

Beer isn’t just good for savoury batters – it is also delicious in pancake batter. The addition of lemon zest and the citrus notes of Stinger Ale make this pancake stack irresistible! Serve with golden syrup for added indulgence.

Ingredients
2 eggs
200g plain flour
2 tbsps granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
284 ml buttermilk
2 tbsps butter melted
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsps Badger Stinger Ale

Method: Beat the eggs in a bowl using an electric whisk until frothy. Add all the remaining ingredients and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth. Heat a griddle or large, non-stick frying pan over a high heat and lightly grease the pan with oil or butter. Pour a serving spoon of batter onto the griddle (the mixture may be quite thick so you will need to spread it a bit with the back of the spoon). Cook until the surface is covered with tiny bubbles, the batter is set, and the bottom is browned (this takes around two minutes). Flip the pancake over and continue to cook until the other side is brown.

Transfer to a plate, and repeat with the rest of the mix.

Serve warm with golden syrup and butter.