Wednesday, July 20, 2011

[Real Detroit Weekly] Cooking With Beer

Beer. Wonderful, nourishing, health-sustaining BEER. (Seriously, its health benefits have been studied and proven, it’s even better for you than red wine, look it up.) We all love to drink it, but did you know you can also cook with it? Everything from citrusy wheat beers to robust stouts can be used to add a flavorful depth to a variety of dishes. Here’s some of our favorite beer-based recipes.

Beer cheese soup at Detroit Beer Company, Detroit. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Beer Cheese Soup (8 servings)

• 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
• 1 1/2 cups diced onion
• 1 1/2 cups diced celery
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 3 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups beer – we suggest using an IPA for its sharp, bitter flavor, like Short’s Huma Lupa Licious
• 1/3 cup butter
• 1/3 cup flour
• 4 cups milk or half and half
• 6 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon dry mustard
• Salted butter popcorn

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, simmer carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in butter until soft. Stir in hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Pour in chicken broth and beer; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk; cook, stirring until the flour is light brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Gradually stir in milk, whisking to prevent scorching, until thickened. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in cheese. Keep warm.
3. Stir beer mixture into cheese mixture. Stir in Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dry mustard. Adjust for hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Garnish with popcorn.
Double your beer food delight by serving with a generous chunk of rye beer bread.

Brew bread at Erie Bread Co., Monroe. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Rye Beer Bread (2 loaves)
• 2 cups rye flour
• 1 1/2 cups room temperature beer – here a dark stout would be best; try New Holland’s the Poet, a thick and creamy oatmeal stout
• 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
• 2 tablespoons molasses (can also use white sugar, but molasses adds more flavor)
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 tablespoons shortening
• 1 egg
• 3 cups bread flour
• 1 tablespoon caraway seed (optional)
• 1 tablespoon cornmeal

1. Combine rye flour, beer, and yeast in a large bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set out overnight. Do not refrigerate.
2. The next day, add molasses, salt, shortening, and egg; beat with mixer until smooth. Stir in caraway seeds, if wanted. Add enough white bread flour to make a soft dough.
3. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, approximately 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to oil the surface of the dough. Let rise in warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled.
4. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Shape into round or oblong loaves, and place on greased baking sheets sprinkled with corn meal. Let rise for 30 minutes.
5. Bake at 400˚F for 30 minutes. Cool on racks.

Beer-battered mushrooms at Harbor House, Detroit. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Beer-Battered Mushrooms (4-6 servings)
• 2 cups beer – for this try a brown ale, like Bell’s Best Brown
• 2 cups sifted flour
• 2 teaspoons garlic powder
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon pepper
• 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
• 3 -6 cups cooking oil (depending on the size of your pot, and mushrooms)
• 1 -2 lb whole fresh large mushrooms, washed and dried

1. Pour about 3 inches (more if needed to cover the mushrooms) of oil into a large pot.
2. Heat until it reaches about 375˚F.
3. Meanwhile mix beer, flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley flakes in a large bowl.
4. Mix until smooth and well blended without any lumps.
5. Dip mushrooms into batter and coat well.
6. Fry mushrooms in batches in oil until crispy and brown.
7. Time will vary depending on temperature of oil and the amount of mushrooms being fried, but you can usually do about 10 mushrooms at a time and it takes about 8 minutes.
8. When done, remove mushrooms to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels to drain off excess oil.
9. Place in a shallow bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat evenly.
10. Serve with favorite dipping sauce – we suggest a spicy remoulade or green goddess

Motor City Nut Brown mussels at the Majestic Cafe, Detroit. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Mussels in Beer Broth
• 2 pounds mussels, debearded
• 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 leek, thinly sliced
• 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
• 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
• 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2 cup wheat beer – try Motor City Brewing Works’ Summer Brew, their seasonal wheat beer
• Fresh lemon juice
• salt and pepper, to taste

1. Scrub mussels an soak in cold water. Discard any that are broken or open when tapped.
2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leek and garlic; cook for about 4 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomatoes, thyme, butter, red pepper flakes and beer. Bring to a boil, add mussels, and cover. Simmer until mussels have opened, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mussels and vegetables to serving bowls. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste to the pot and return broth to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Ladle over mussels and serve.

Guinness ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels at Roast, Detroit. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Guinness (or Founders) Ice Cream with Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
• 2 cups Guinness (16 ounces) – now, the namesake might be Guinness but really any stout will do; to really amp up the flavor, use Founders Breakfast Stout (with clear notes of coffee, molasses, rolled oats and chocolate)
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 3/4 cups whole milk
• 5 large egg yolks
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• Chocolate-covered pretzels, for serving

1. In a large saucepan, combine the beer 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 beer cream to the yolks, whisking constantly until well blended.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Spoon the ice cream into bowls and top with some chocolate-covered pretzels. Serve at once or freeze up to a week.
Try serving with a small amount of Founders Kentucky Bourbon Stout poured over it for a grown-up ice cream float (ask for it at Roast).

View the print version here.

Want to see more? Check out the Flickr set here.