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How To Cook With Beer
He was a wise man who invented beer. - Plato
The oldest known recipe for beer was carved onto a Mesopotamian clay tablet about 4,000 years ago. Crop cultivation techniques soon improved to keep pace with the demand for the grain that quenched people’s thirst for beer. Fortunately, more grain also led to more food during long winters, a win for everyone. For modern cooks beer is not just a grain based beverage, it is a delicious seasoning. When reduced by heating to release its essence, beer infuses your recipe with the flavors of barley, hops (see inset photo), yeast, and herbs.
Beer does add a few calories to a recipe. 153 calories reside inside that 12 ounce can. A typical six serving recipe will call for four to eight ounces of beer. Those eight ounces add less than 20 calories per serving. Craft beers lend a wonderful bit of complexity to experimental recipes as each brewer creates a unique product. Dark, Pale, or "light" beers all find a happy home in a good recipe.
Does all the alcohol evaporate when it is cooked? Mostly, but not completely. How thoroughly it evaporates depends on the manner and length of cooking - higher temperatures and longer cooking times reduce, but do not eliminate, the alcohol content. This link has a very handy chart to use when you cook with any type of alcohol. If you or someone at your table needs to totally avoid alcohol, do not add beer or any other alcohol to the dish.
Substitutes for beer are easy. In a savory recipe that calls for a light beer, sub in chicken or veggie stock. For a savory recipe that calls for dark heavy ale, substitute beef stock. A recipe for sweet beer barbecue sauce will be just fine with soda or ginger ale. For that delicious fall root vegetable stew, sub in apple cider. Your results won’t taste exactly the same as it would with beer, but it will still be delicious! Grab your cans and bottles and let's get cooking!
Refined Chef’s Beer Battered Delicata Squash Chips enlists the flavors of Ale to make your taste buds sing as well as The Battlefield Band in a tavern.
Sheila's Beer Battered Chicken Strips will make everyone's face light up in smiles. They are easy to make and much better for you than fast food versions.
Beer Cooks uses chicken wings in this recipe for Spicy Brown Ale Brined Wings. While wings would be delicious, I can't wait to try the same marinade for thighs and breasts.
Michael’s Theater Tour Shepherd’s Pie is a bit of home cookery comfort food and will be perfect for cooler weather. Make it a delicious part of your portion controlled day.
Craft Beer’s Amber Ale Barbecue Beef is leisurely simmered in your slow cooker – perfectly easy and totally fool proof.
Vegetarians can enjoy beer as a seasoning in Meganr’s Black Bean Chili with Tempeh (check individual brewers ingredients list).
Maybe you have a nice amber lager or bock in the house and would enjoy a lovely batch of Black Bean Beer Soup.
What else besides beer uses yeast? Bread! Beer and bread are perfect recipe partners. I love About.com basic Beer Bread recipe.
Have a little craft beer on the side with this tempting Asparagus, Leek, and IPA Risotto.
Meganr’s Guinness Cake is the perfect end to your fantastic beer based menu.
Have you ever seasoned a dish with beer? Which type did you use? Have you ever made a beer cake? How have you used beer substitutes in recipes? Do you hate beer but love to cook with it? Share your recipes with everyone here! If you would like your recipe to be considered for CC Palate, please send it to me via pm. This article may be reprinted (including bio) with prior permission from the author.