Friday, March 25, 2011

Stout-Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Here's the last of "cooking with beer" recipes from the article I did earlier this month in the Athens Banner-Herald. It's a beer version of a pork dish I would normally cook with red wine. But Guinness Stout gives more complexity and heartiness to the dish.

The malty dark ales, stout and porter, have many layers of flavor and lend themselves to marinating meat, especially pork. Paired with the sweet and sharp overtones of molasses, stout is outstanding in cooking, and shows up in many dishes at pubs and brew houses.

Beer is the traditional accompaniment for food cooked with beer. Beer experts wax poetic about the nuances of pairing particular beers with particular dishes. My knowledge of beers is such that I'll leave that task to the experts. (Plus, I'll confess that I prefer wine with food).

The recipe serves six to eight.

Stout-Molasses Marinated Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin (about 11/2 pounds)

3/4 cup stout or porter (Georgia micro-brewed stouts and porters are only available seasonally, but include Terrapin Moo Hoo and Red Brick Porter; otherwise use Guinness Stout)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium shallot or 1/2 small onion, finely minced

4 teaspoons molasses (not "blackstrap")

Canola or olive oil for frying

3 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons finely minced parsley for garnish.

Slice pork 1/2-inch thick.

In bowl, mix beer, salt and pepper. Add pork and marinate 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, mince shallot or onion.

Remove pork from marinade, and place on plate. Keep marinade. Stir molasses into it.

Heat large frying pan to medium high. Add several tablespoons oil. Fry pork, half at a time. Turn the pieces several times, until lightly browned. Add a little oil as needed. Remove pork.

Add a little oil, if needed, to pan. Fry shallots or onions, stirring well, until softened. Add marinade mixture, and stir as it bubbles for half a minute.

Return pork to pan. Braise for about 2 minutes, turning pieces several times.

Stir in cream and move pork pieces around while sauce comes to a bubble. Remove from heat.

Arrange pork slices on platter. Taste sauce, and add salt if necessary. Spoon sauce over pork. Dust with minced parsley.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Garnished sauerkraut with smoked meats

Here's another of the recipes from my recent article for the Athens Banner-Herald on cooking with beer.

Sauerkraut, the pickled cabbage that traditionally fed much of Northern and Eastern Europe in winter, and provided their essential Vitamin C, has many culinary uses. Not simply something to drape half-raw on hot dogs, sauerkraut, when simmered with smoked meats, fruit and seasonings is revered in Germany, Switzerland and the Alsatian portion of France. The typical cooking liquid is white wine, but there also are beer versions.

Beer is the traditional accompaniment for food cooked with beer. Though I'll confess I prefer wine with food. Riesling, preferably fairly dry, is the classical wine accompaniment to sauerkraut. But pilsner or lager type beers with low hops do well too.

In this recipe I've indicated the general type of beer used plus an Athens brew that works well.

The recipe serve six to eight. Accompany the dish with small boiled potatoes.


3 tablespoons bacon grease or olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, ninced
1 (28-ounce) can shredded sauerkraut, juice squeezed out
1 (12-ounce) bottle golden, low-hop beer, such as Terrapin Golden Ale
3/4 pound chunk or slice smoked ham or 3 smoked pork chops
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon juniper berries or allspice berries
2 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt to taste
6 or more good German-style sausages (such as Boar's Head frankfurters, knackwurst, etc.)

Heat bacon grease or oil in stainless or enamel (not aluminum or cast iron) pot. Fry onion, stirring frequently, until turning golden. Add garlic and fry 1/2 minute.

Add squeezed sauerkraut. Stir frequently, and fry until a bit of the sauerkraut is lightly browned. Add beer, ham or pork chops, apple, herbs and spices (but not sugar or salt).

Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes. The apple will break down. If liquid dries, add a little water.

Stir in sugar. Taste, and add salt to taste. Simmer another 5 minutes.

Prick sausage skins with toothpick in a number of areas. Place sausages on top of sauerkraut.

Let steam gently, covered, 5 minutes, or until sausages begin to swell. Turn sausages and lift some sauerkraut onto them. Simmer a few more minutes.

Serve with boiled, buttered and parsleyed potatoes. Accompany with German-style or Dijon mustard.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Welsh Rabbit (aka "Rarebit")

Here's another of the recipes from my "Beer in Cooking" article in the Athens Banner Herald recently.

Welsh Rabbit, that delightful British hot cheese mixture served over toast, dates back to the 18th century. Composed of cheddar cheese melted with beer (or sometimes with a b├ęchamel sauce), it may be a local variant of Swiss Fondue. The whimsical name alleged that the Welsh were too poor to buy, or too clumsy to hunt, a real rabbit. In fact, cheese is much esteemed in Wales. The occasional name change to "rarebit" is modern, and is not British.

This cheese sauce is served hot over toast or boiled vegetables. It can be lunch or supper, or the starter course to a dinner.

Beer is the traditional accompaniment for food cooked with beer. Though I'll confess I prefer wine with food.

In the recipe I've indicated the general type of beer used plus an Athens brew that works well. The recipe serves six to eight.

WELSH RABBIT (aka "Rarebit")

1 pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, freshly grated

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 (12-ounce) bottle mildly hopped beer, such as Terrapin Golden Ale

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or 1/2 teaspoon dry English mustard mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Toasted bread, or boiled (5 minutes) Brussels sprouts or broccoli, for serving

2 teaspoons finely minced parsley

Toss cheese together with flour, salt, nutmeg and pepper.

Rub pan (from which the dish will be served) with garlic, using wooden spoon. Discard garlic.

Heat beer in pan until foam clears and bubbling begins.

Add cheese by the handful, stirring between additions and bringing liquid back to a bubble.

Add mustard. Simmer, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Taste, and add salt if needed.

Serve over toasted bread or boiled vegetables. Dust lightly with minced parsley.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Belgian Carbonade: Best-known beer dish?

Here is perhaps the most famous gourmet dish cooked with beer. It's from my recent article on cooking with beer, in the Athens Banner-Herald, along with some of the description I used.

The more famous beer-based dishes, like Belgian Carbonnade and Welsh Rabbit (aka "rarebit"), are from regions that produce little wine. Necessity - perhaps in the form of plentiful stale beer and expensive, imported wine - probably mothered the inventions. Yet in the Germanic Alsace region of France, which produces excellent wine and good beer, a classical dish is Poulet la Bi re.

Arguably the top beer dish, Carbonnade is a richly flavored beef and onion stew from the Flemish regions of Belgium. Its traditional ingredient is dark, but lightly hopped, ale.

The recipe serves six to eight. It goes with boiled potatoes or buttered noodles. The traditional accompaniment is, of course, beer.

CARBONNADE FLAMANDE (Belgian beef stew with onions and beer)

2 pounds stewing beef (chuck or sirloin tip preferred)
2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Olive oil or rendered beef fat for frying
2 very large onions, diced
1/2 of large stick celery, diced
1 (12-ounce) bottle dark, low-hop beer, such as Sweetwater Georgia Brown or Belgian dark
2 large bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dry ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus to taste
2 tablespoons minced parsley for garnish

Cut beef into 11/2-inch chunks, removing excess fat. (For extra flavor, fry fat in stew pot. Remove cracklings and extra grease before frying meat.) Toss beef with flour mixture.

Heat stewing pot. Add several tablespoons oil or melted fat. Fry beef, half at a time, scraping bottom of pot frequently, until beginning to brown. Add more oil or fat if needed. Transfer beef to bowl.

Add more oil or fat to pot, if needed. Fry onions and celery over medium-high heat until starting to brown, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pot.

Return beef to pot. Add beer, dry herbs and spices. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer, stirring frequently. Add a little water if gravy dries. As beef becomes tender, 40 to 60 minutes, add salt.

When beef is fully tender, remove bay leaves and stir in ketchup and sugar. Simmer 5 minutes. Taste again. Add salt, as needed.

Serve with buttered noodles or potatoes. Sprinkle with minced parsley.