With St. Patrick's Day looming large more than a handful of people are contemplating beer and how to best use it. Now if I were making a list of things to do with beer, numbers 1 through 9 would be to drink it. But slot #10 would actually be how to cook with it. And as Chef Jerry Pellegriono of Schola Cooking Schol notes, we use various liquids in millions of recipes, why not use beer?
Off the top of his head, Jerry came up with four great uses for beer in cooking:beer batters, especially tempura, which takes advantage of beer's carbonation; braising liquids which utilize beer's natural acidity; in stew and chili recipes, which like the richness of a darker beer; and in baking where you can take advantage of some of the exotic flavors that are found in today's beer.
Jerry went over to the Waverly Brewing Company and played around with some of their beers in the kitchen. Here are a few ideas he came up with.
Beer Battered Onion Rings
2 large yellow onions (about 2 pounds total)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 ½ cups cornstarch
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 ½ cups Waverly IPA
2 cups sparkling mineral water
1 large egg
4 to 6 cups vegetable oil (or more depending on vessel), for frying
Preheat oven to 250°F. Set two cooling racks over two rimmed baking sheets.
Cut onions crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices and separate into rings. Reserve small inner rings for another use. Add 1 cup flour to a large bowl. Toss rings in flour and let sit 30 minutes.
When ready to fry, whisk together remaining 2 cups flour, cornstarch, garlic and onion powder, cayenne, sugar and salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the beer, water, and egg. Gradually whisk the dry mixture to the wet mixture.
Heat an inch of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until it registers 350°F on a deep fry/candy thermometer. Working in batches to prevent crowding, dredge the onion rings in the batter and immediately drop into the oil. Cook onion rings, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes total. Transfer cooked rings to the cooling racks set over the baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and keep warm in oven while frying remaining batches.
Pressure Cooker Short Ribs
¼ cup Canola or Olive oil
4 lb. Boneless Beef Short Ribs
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cups honey
10-oz. can red chili sauce (we like to use Heinz)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
12 oz. Waverly Buckwheat Brown Ale
Heat olive oil in the base of a pressure cooker over medium high heat until just smoking. Place the pork roast in the pressure cooker and brown on all sides. Add Worcestershire sauce, honey, chili sauce, salt, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder and beer. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and allow to fully pressurize. Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the lid. Remove the roast, discard the fat, and shred the meat. While you are shredding the meat, place the pressure cooker back over medium heat and allow the sauce to thicken. Pour as much of the sauce as necessary to coat the pork. Serve immediately over rice or in tortillas.
Beer Mac & Cheese
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon and 1/2 tsp salt, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light flavor olive oil
1 large shallot, finely minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 oz. Waverly Agave Blonde Ale
2 teaspoons full strength prepared stone ground mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot, over medium-high heat, bring two quarts water and 1 teaspoon salt to a full rolling boil. Gradually add macaroni and boil approximately 10 minutes or until pasta reaches desired tenderness. Drain.
Melt butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté shallots in butter and olive oil for approximately 2 minutes or until they begin to turn transparent. Add flour to the pan, stirring constantly until a smooth paste forms. Stirring constantly, gradually add milk and continue cooking until mixture is thick and bubbly (mixture should coat the back of a spoon). Add 8 ounces of cheese and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and add beer, mustard, garlic powder, pepper and remaining salt. Stir well.
Spray a 9” x 9" square glass pan with non-stick cooking spray. In the large pot, combine macaroni and cheese sauce and stir. Pour into 9” x 9" baking dish, cover with foil and place into preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove foil and continue cooking, uncovered for another 15 minutes.
Remove macaroni and cheese from the oven. Allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes before serving
Beer Battered Brownies
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 oz. Waverly Oyster Stout
Vegetable oil for deep frying
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 8- or 9-inch square pan with shortening or cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, pouch of chocolate syrup, water, 1/4 cup oil and the egg until well blended. Spread batter in pan.
2 Bake 8-inch pan 38 to 40 minutes, 9-inch pan 34 to 37 minutes, or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.
3 In 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat 2 to 3 inches oil to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and the beer with whisk until smooth. Working in small batches, dip brownies into batter. Fry in hot oil about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels; sprinkle with sea salt.