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How To Cook With Beer

By +Janice D'Agostino on Oct 05, 2012 10:00 AM in Recipes

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 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.

Your thoughts….

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 pmThis article may be reprinted (including bio) with prior permission from the author.

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beer gives me a migraine

Me too but it doesn't usually surface until the next morning.

Original Post by: outlawhusker

Me too but it doesn't usually surface until the next morning.

Oh, thanks, it's nice to have a laugh first thing in the morning.  I actually laughed out loud at my desk!

My favorite is Beer Batter Bread. And it's the easiest and tastiest bread you'll ever make.

3 cups of flour 1 TBS of baking powder 3 TBS of sugar 1 tsp. of salt 1 bottle of beer, at room temperature 1/4 cup of melted unsalted butter

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the butter.  Don't over-mix, it should be lumpy and sticky.  You can grease a 9 by 5 by 3 inch pan with Crisco or use Pam.  Pour in the dough, then brush the top with butter.  I tend to make an indention and pour some of the butter on top.  

Bake at 375 for about 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  

What's cool is when you use different beers, you get different flavors.  Guiness makes the bread sweet for some reason.  Either way, YUM.

Jim ~ Eat what you want and still lose all the weight you want. 

There is another substitute for beer that is not mentioned in the article. That is non-alcoholic beer. It is equivalent to light beer, but has fewer calories and no alcohol. The most popular brands are

  1. St. Pauli NA – a good crisp taste, not sweet like the
    majority of non-alcoholic beers and a bit of the skunky taste that is good and hard to find in a non-alcoholic beer.
  2. Clausthaler – Crisp, clean and a little bitter. A tad sweeter that St. Pauli NA and therefore why it is #2.
  3. Kaliber – A product made by Guinness has to make the top 3; good flavor, smooth and has the familiar Guinness flavor.
  4. O’Douls Amber – by Budweiser fan, this is a good tasting non-alcoholic beer with a few more calories than the others and worth it for the taste.
  5. O’Douls – still Budweiser and still good. A bit lighter, very drinkable and no sweet aftertaste like some others.

Beer can chicken is a favorite! Basically a whole chicken sits upright on a special rack with a half can of beer inserted in the body cavity. You can roast in the oven or on the grill over indirect heat. A small onion caps the neck cavity to keep the steam from the beer infused in the chicken. Salt and pepper inside and out, and she is good to go! You can try flavored beer, but my fave is Newcastle Brown ale. Carve the bird on the rack to avoid spilling the hot beer. Once the carcass cools, it's easier to remove from the rack. Works all year round.

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