Tuesday, February 28, 2012

guest post: every little thing - cooking with beer!

Are you excited, you guys? I have a guest post this week!! You should be excited, because it is from my pal Stacy, who's blog Every Little Thing is the most recent winner of The Riverfront Times' Best Food Blog award! That's kind of a big deal... only awesome people win such things... :p So without further ado, here's Stacy dropping some fantastic knowledge about cooking with Beer. Mmmmmm....beer.

Hello Iron Stef fans! My name is Stacy and I blog at Every Little Thing. Most of my recipes consist of basic meals using all natural ingredients that you’d find at your local farmer’s market. And just like I enjoy supporting local farms, I’m also a fan of supporting the many craft breweries in St. Louis by imbibing in the fruits of their labor. Recently, I’ve been trying to incorporate beer into the food I eat and thought I’d detail a few general suggestions about cooking with beer, for those looking to transform a few recipes.

Beer can cool the palate after spicy wings wake up the tongue with a juicy burger. This particular libation is often an acquired taste but once you have acquired it (and you will), there’s no going back. And just like the finest of wines, beer can serve as a major component to your recipe instead of just supplementary material.

Here are some foods with which beer can shine:

Cheesy soups and dips - Beer has a natural partner - a little thing called cheese. Beer cheese soup is a staple of most pubs and cheesy dips with beer are a popular Pinterest item. Stick with smoky cheddars and pair with pale ales and pilsners, like in this beer cheese dip recipe I made recently. Lighter beers will allow the taste of the cheese to come through while still presenting that earthy kick.

Stews and sauces - You can use a wide variety of beers depending on your meat of choice. For example, pork and chicken cook well with beers that present citrus or hoppy undertones. For beef, try a stout or porter, both of which can make a thick, rich sauce to spread over each slice. Thinking Mexican? Try this beer-braised pork. Feeling more like steak? Here’s a stout pan sauce that works perfectly with any cut.
Seafood - I know you’ve heard of beer-battered fish, but I’m talking about actually cooking fresh fish with beer. Lighter beers, again those with citrus undertones, work well with fish, but why not try an amber or lambic (or other Belgian beer) to add a robust flavor component to basic white fish? This is an area I’m not as familiar, so check out this recipe for ale-braised mussels. This website is also a good resource with basic tips for grilling seafood using beer.

Desserts - Stouts work great with desserts, especially considering many stouts are already flavored like your favorite desserts. Think about chocolate stout, milk stout, coffee stout, and yes, even creme brulee stout! Pair any of these with your favorite chocolate dessert recipe and the stout will add a kick that you can’t get from cocoa alone. In fact, try these chocolate stout cupcakes for your next special occasion!

Get creative! I recently made delicious beer fries using an IPA, and beer and bacon pancakes using a pale ale.
Most importantly, stick with beers that you would actually drink! If you’re really into craft beer, don’t use the Bud Light from 2010 in the back of your bar. Even though the alcohol cooks away and the taste transforms, it’s worth it (for the food’s sake) to use quality beer!

Thanks again, Stacy. Great post! Hey everybody! What's your favorite beer? Do you Cook with it? If so, what do you cook? Please share in the comments!

Here are some related posts from the Iron Stef archive:

1 comment:

Every Little Thing said...

Thanks again for letting me guest post!