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What's Up Magazine

Brewed and boiled: Cooking with beer

Sep 27, 2011 05:10PM ● By Anonymous

Around the world, beer lovers are celebrating Oktoberfest, and there’s no better time to expand your culinary horizons to include cooking with beer. The brews infuse your food with its own special flavor, depending on the type of beer you use. Dark stouts such as Guinness work well in rich chocolate dishes, while ales offer a lighter, complementary flavor to breads, broths and salad dressings.

Before you get all frenzied about serving beer-laden food to children or recovering alcoholics and what not, know that the alcohol (almost always) cooks out of the food, leaving just the flavor behind. If you’re incredibly stringent about keeping alcohol out of your diet, then skip these recipes. But don’t worry too much – you can still get in the car after taking a bit of Guinness cake.

We’ve whipped up a full menu of beer-oriented food, but feel free to pick and choose. If you find there’s just too much lager in this menu, pick and choose from the dishes (such as serving the appetizer and dessert, or the potato salad along a nice steak) and select a great craft brew to pair with the other courses.

Appetizer: Mussels steamed in beer
Mussels frequently show up on menus steamed in wine. Try these beer-steamed mussels for a twist on the popular appetizer.

Soup: Beer Cheese Soup
This soup is rich, creamy and perfect for dipping a side of crusty bread.

Entrée: Beer Pizza
There’s something a little bit different about the tomato sauce on this pizza – it’s laced with beer!

Side Dish: Beer Potato Salad
If you’re heading to an Oktoberfest barbecue, here’s a common side dish with a twist no one will expect.

Dessert: Guinness Stout Ginger Cake
This dessert will take you from October through the holidays with the flavor of Guinness celebrating the fall and the ginger celebrating the start of the holiday season. (You could even wrap it up and give it as a gift!)

The recipes:

Beer-steamed mussels
4–8 servings

12 ounces beer (Your choice, but try a wheat beer, if possible)
4 pounds mussels, cleaned
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup carrots, diced
¼ cup celery, diced
¼ cup shallots, diced
1 sprig of thyme
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
If necessary, clean and debeard the mussels.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, shallots and thyme, sautéing until soft (Approximately five minutes).
Add the mussels and beer to the pot and steam for five minutes, or until the mussels open. Discard any mussels that don’t open.
Spoon the mussels into a large bowl and pour the vegetables and liquid over the shells. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Beer-cheese soup
8 servings

5 tablespoons butter
3 carrots, diced
2 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk
12 ounces amber beer
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the carrots and leeks and cook until soft, or about 10 minutes. Add the flour. Stir often for two minutes.
Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the beer and mustard. Bring the soup to a boil, whisking constantly.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer, while continuing to whisk, until the soup is creamy and thickened, or about 10 minutes.
Removed the pan from the heat. Stir in the cheese a handful at a time until melted and combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve either topped with homemade croutons or a thick hunk of bread on the side.

Beer Pizza
Makes 2 pizzas

1 tablespoon olive oil
28-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup beer
2 unbaked pizza crusts (store-bought or made from your own dough)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
Assorted pizza toppings, such as pepperoni, green bell peppers, mushrooms and onion

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté your pizza toppings until tender. In another saucepan, heat the tomato sauce and beer. Transfer the toppings from the skillet into the sauce, and season with garlic, oregano, thyme, and salt. Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Spread the mixture over the pizza crusts and top with cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until cheese is melted and the crust is golden-brown.

Beer Potato Salad
8–12 servings

3 pounds potatoes
2 cups celery, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
½ cup beer
2 tablespoons parsley

Boil the potatoes, unpeeled, in a large pot until tender. Wait for them to cool, then dice.
Transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl. Add celery and onion, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a smaller bowl, mix mayo, mustard, and hot sauce. Slowly stir in the beer, and then add parsley. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and vegetables and stir to combine. Refrigerate for two hours to allow the flavors to marry.

Guinness Ginger Cake
8 servings

1 cup Guinness
1 cup molasses
½ tablespoon baking soda
3 eggs
½ cup granulate sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
Powdered sugar for decoration

Grease either a 9x5 loaf pan or a 6-cup Bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the beer and molasses and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add baking soda. Let it sit for approximately 10 minutes, or until the foam dissipates.
In a bowl, mix the eggs and sugars. Whisk in the oil.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom.
Combine the beer mixture with the egg mixture, and then whisk it into the flour mixture a small amount at a time. Add the fresh ginger and mix to combine.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for one hour, or until the top spring back when gently pressed. Be careful not to open the oven until the cake is nearly done as the center might fall slightly. Cool and serve.