Cooking with ... beer

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cheers! Beer isn't just for drinking: It can also be a star ingredient in everything from soups to desserts. We've compiled a menu of beer-based dishes. (And, in case you're worried about serving beer to youngsters, the alcohol cooks out of most of the dishes listed below.) Enjoy!

Cheese potpourri


1 1/2 pounds aged cheddar cheese

1/4 pound Roquefort or blue cheese, crumbled

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons soft butter

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

1/3 teaspoon hot sauce

2 teaspoons grated onion or chopped chives

1 12-ounce bottle or can beer of your choice


Grate cheese. Place all ingredients except beer in bowl of electric mixer. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes to soften cheese. Mix slowly, adding beer gradually, until spread is smooth and fluffy. Serve immediately or store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator or freezer.

This tangy spread keeps well in the refrigerator or freezer. Serve it dramatically in a hollowed-out round loaf of pumpernickel or rye bread. Cut the bread from the center into thin slices and supplement the supply with slices of salty rye or pumpernickel.

Source: The Beer Institute

Beer cheese soup


3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

1 sweet onion, finely diced

1/2 red pepper, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups of your favorite beer (lighter wheat beers work best)

1 cup half and half

4 ounces sharp white cheddar, freshly grated

4 ounces extra sharp yellow cheddar, freshly grated

4 ounces Colby jack, freshly grated

Fresh herbs for garnish

Salt and pepper to season if needed


Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add chopped bacon. Fry until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.

Reduce heat to low and add onions, peppers and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are translucent, stirring occasionally.

Increase heat to medium-high and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until flour is nutty and golden. Add beer and, stirring constantly, cook for 5 minutes so the alcohol cooks out and the mixture somewhat thickens.

Add in half and half, then reduce heat to low and gradually add cheese while stirring. Stir until smooth, then fold in bacon and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs over top if desired.


Beer can roasted chicken with fig jam sauce


1 whole chicken (about 4 1/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Coarse salt

1 can stout, such as Guinness

1 small bunch fresh thyme

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons fig jam


Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Rub skin with butter and season with salt. Pour out 1/2 cup stout from can; reserve. Poke holes in top of can using a church key. Place thyme in can and set in a large ovenproof skillet. Place chicken over can, balancing legs to keep it standing like a tripod.

Carefully transfer chicken to oven, breast side first. Roast for 20 minutes. Baste with pan juices. Roast, basting twice, until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reaches 155 degrees, about 25 minutes more.

Carefully remove skillet from oven. (Steady chicken with one hand, using paper towels or mitts to protect your hand.) Let chicken rest (it will continue to cook) until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 10 minutes, then remove from can. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, discard can and pour pan juices into a cup; skim fat. Return juices to skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in reserved 1/2 cup stout and bring to a simmer, scraping up brown bits. Mix together water and flour. Whisk into skillet. Boil for 1 minute. Whisk in jam. Simmer until thick, about 2 minutes. Serve chicken with sauce.


Green beans in beer sauce


1/3 pound bacon strips, diced

1 package (16 ounces) frozen cut green beans, thawed

1/3 cup beer or nonalcoholic beer

1/3 cup butter, cubed

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons white vinegar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons grated onion


In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the beans, beer and butter to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender.

Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Remove beans with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, cornstarch and onion until blended. Stir into the saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Add beans; heat through. Sprinkle with bacon.


Chocolate-stout brownies


1 cup stout (such as Guinness)

16 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch-by-9-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Bring stout to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 12 minutes. Let cool. Reserve 1/4 cup stout.

Stir 12 ounces chocolate and 1 cup butter in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth.

Whisk sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture, then 1/4 cup stout from pan. Fold in flour and 1 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake brownies until surface begins to crack and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Stir remaining 4 ounces chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Add reserved 1/4 cup reduced stout, remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt; whisk until well blended.

Pour warm glaze over brownies. Let stand at room temperature until glaze is set, about 40 minutes. Using foil overhang, lift brownie from pan; cut into squares.