I see how you get here. The keyword searches that bring you to this little blog of mine. Most of these keyword searches make sense, like "Beer recipes," "Cooking with beer," and even "The Beeroness." This past year nearly 8,000 people came to my blog with the keyword "The Beeroness," or it could have been just one guy searching for me eight thousand times. If that was you, thank you and you’re creepy.
Sometimes those keywords don’t make sense, like the person that found my blog while searching, "fun recipes for toddlers" or all those people looking for "healthy quick meals." I am not the top pick for either of those catagories. But it’s post holidays, and we are in that ill fitting week between Christmas and New Years that feels like the calendar equivalent of the end of a loaf of bread and you all seem to want something at least semi healthy.
Me too, I did eat three cinnamon rolls yesterday in about 5 minutes. I could use a little not-as-bad-for-me one pot meal.
So here it is. One pot. Not completely unhealthy. Quick and easy. But for the "fun for toddlers" part you’re on your own.
From an outsiders perspective, the question might seems silly. Beer, after all, is made from plants and water. At its most basic, the ingredients to make beer are simple: water, malt, hops, yeast; all of which are clearly non-animal. And while brewmasters have a way of working everything from bacon to whole chickens into their beer, the biggest culprits are more subtle.
Sometimes, the de-veganized beers are easy to spot, a milk stout that uses lactose, or a honey kolsch, but more often than not, our veggie loving beer friends are in the dark as to whether an animal part has made its way into their pints. Since the CDC, the TTB, the FDA and all the other acronym loving agencies that have their grubby paws in what we consume do not require anyone to disclose the use of animal byproducts in the processing of food or beverages, it often gets left off the label (in fact, almost always).
The biggest offenders are what brewers use to clarify beer. While the need for clarifying is often done with non animal ingredients, or replaced with a centrifuge machine, it’s still common for breweries to use ingredients like gelatin or fish bladders as clarifying agents rendering beer not only non-vegan but non-vegetarian. There is also the foam control issue, and I’m not talking about the frothing of the mouth that occurs when your favorite stout is on Nitro, but the desire brewers have to give you that perfect level of foam head on your pints. To gain control on that lovely can’t-you-settle-yet-I-need-a-drink-now head on your beer, brewers have been known to use pepsin (made from pigs) or albium (made from animal blood) to give you the perfect pour.
But if you are one of the growing numbers of craft beer loving veggie devotees, don’t despair. Many, many breweries are hip to your vibe, vegan beer is a concern for many. When it comes to finding out if your beer is sans-beasts, google is your friend. Also, websites like Barnivore give a great and growing list of vegan friendly breweries and beers.
For this recipe I used Sierra Nevada Porter, a vegan beer. In fact, as a company, Sierra Nevada is 100% vegan friendly.
As an addendum to this, it needs to be mentioned that there is nothing wrong with the use of animal products in beer. Milk stout is a favorite of mine, and a good honey kolsch is great to pair with a summer cook out. However, disclosure is key and giving people the information they need to keep the diet they choose is a way to keep us all friends in this craft beer community.
If you want to watch a culinary sports crowd get rilled up, ask what the "right way to make chili" really is. Just meat? Beans? No beans? Pork, vegetables, beef? Tomatoes? Because if you do it "wrong" you might was well be at Morton’s and ask for ketchup with your steak. Or waltz yourself in the kitchen of a southern Grandma and boss her biscuit making ways around: you might get yourself punched.
Regardless of your "right" way to make chili, I hope your take away from this recipe is that the braising liquid, what is left after a pork shoulder simmers in beer for 4 hours, is the perfect liquid to use in chili. It’s packed with flavor, beer, broth, spices, and meaty goodness. Don’t wash it down the drain, strain it and save it for making soup and chili. Even freezing it if you have to.
It’s like a free secret ingredient, even if you still have to fight with your brother in law about why you want to add beans.
114.5 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
114.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes
3-4chipotle peppers in adobominced
2tspadobo sauce from chipotle can
In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.
Sprinkle pork on all sides with spice mixture.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven until hot but not smoking. Sear pork on all sides until browned.
Pour the beer and beef stock over the pork.. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Add a lid at a vent and allow to cook until pork is very tender and shreds easily, about 4 hours. Remove from the pot, shred using two forks, return to the pot and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove meat from the pot with a slotted spoon to drain off excess moisture (reserve braising liquid).
In a separate pot heat 2 tbs olive oil, cook the onions and red pepper until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Add 1 ½ cups of the pork braising liquid, black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve topped with cheddar, cilantro, red onion, tomatoes and pulled pork.
I’ve started to think about dishes that have made an impact on me over the years, a salt roasted whole fish I ate in italy, curried soup I had in New York, even pancakes from my Grandfather. I didn’t grow up in a culinary family, I grew up in a defrost-and-feed family and decided I wanted to figure out this cooking thing when I was in High School. I met a guy who was older than me, SO old, in fact, that he had his own apartment. I wanted to impress him, so I offered to cook him dinner. Newly licensed, I drove to the grocery store all by myself for the first time. I had planned to buy steak and try to figure that out, but a combination of seeing these tiny chickens and realizing how expensive good steak was made the decision easy. Two "tiny chickens" were only $4, and I peeled the price tag off so that he wouldn’t know how cheap I was.
I just rubbed them with butter (probably margarine, to be honest) and salt and pepper, and cooked them until I thought they were done. They turned out amazing, I think I was more impressed than he was. It was my first official Kitchen Win, Roasted Cornish Game Hens at 16 years old, in the kitchen of a crappy post war era apartment off George Washington Way.
I haven’t made them since (until now), and I can’t even tell you why. I make roast chicken all the time, and this is just as easy, and if you are having a dinner party, it’s really impressive, everyone gets their own tiny chicken. You don’t even have to tell them how cheap they are.
A beer brine is incredible, the combination of the subtle flavors and the meat tenderizing properties of beer give you a fantastic final product. I usually use brown ale, I love the notes of molasses and nuts that are easy to find in brown ales. I remembered Brother Thelonious from North Coast, a strong, dark, Belgian Style Abbey Ale . The notes of nuts, fruit, malt, brown sugar and cherries, along with a relatively high ABV of 9.3%, it was exactly what I was looking for. North Coast is a stellar brewery out of Northern California, that has brought us such hits as Old Rasputin and PranQster. North Coast has been preaching the craft beer gospel for 25 years, producing beer that is diverse and on point, you’ll never hear anything but praise out of me for North Coast.
The sauce can be made with what you have "leftover" from the beer brine, but let’s be honest, it probably won’t last that long. You can also use a lighter wheat beer, or a pale ale. Just a warning, alcohol intensifies heat so the higher ABV you use, the higher the heat level will be. Removing the seeds from the pepper gives you a greater control over the sauces final heat level. Most of the heat of a pepper is found in the seeds, with almost no flavor.The flesh of the pepper still has significant heat, but also contains the flavor of the pepper. If you are worried about the heat not being high enough, reserve some of the seeds and add them into the sauce as needed.
Beer Brined Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Chili Sauce
In a pot over medium high heat, add the wheat beer, salt, sugar and cloves. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat. Add the ice, stir until dissolved.
Rinse the game hens inside and out, place together in a large bowl. Pour the brine over the hens, refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 425.
Remove hens from brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Place in a roasting rack of a roasting pan or on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut lemon into quarters. Place one quarter into each hen, place the remaining two in the roasting pan beneath the hens.
In a small bowl combine melted butter, salt and pepper.
Brush the hens liberally with the butter mixture.
Roast at 425 for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165.
While the hens are roasting, make the sauce. Using gloves remove the seeds from the habanero, discard seeds and stem, chop remaining pepper.
Add habanero, orange juice, cornstarch and white sugar to a saucepan over high heat, whisk frequently until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, add beer and vinegar, bring to a boil just until re-thickened, stir in about half (1-2 tsp) of the 1 tbs chili flakes. Taste sauce, add additional red chili flakes for a higher level of heat.
Serve the orange chili sauce in small sauce dishes along side the hens for dipping.
This recipe makes an abundance of sauce, enough for 4 to 6 servings. If you make more Game Hens, you won't need to double the sauce unless you make 8 or more servings. If you are worried about the heat not being high enough, reserve some of the seeds and add them into the sauce as needed.
If you’re new to the Craft Beer scene, it might surprise you how many vegetarian and vegans there are here.
While I am a meat eater (clearly, I put bacon in desserts), I did spend three years as a vegetarian. Mostly, this was a response to growing up on a farm and getting up close and personal to the butchering process as well as the jarring realization of knowing the first name of my dinner. It did, however, give me a profound respect for the food I eat and the farms that share that respect.
I still eat vegan quite often, and there are some dishes, like lasagna, that I just think are just better in vegetarian form.
My true and honest feeling about vegan cooking is that regardless of what your typical diet is if you can’t cook a vegan meal that you love, you just aren’t that good of a cook. Produce is amazing, you get to use all the grains, seeds and nuts that you want and by the way, for the most part beer is vegan.
I first heard about Cashew Cream from this guy, and the idea was intriguing, given that I would have a much easier time giving up meat than sour cream and goat cheese. I like the idea of having a creamy element when I want to go non-dairy. This cashew cream was a really beautiful creamy addition to a vegan chili, when sour cream isn’t an option. I wanted to balance the sweetness so I added some acid and some spices, but feel free to experiment. This would also be a great place to add a little chipotle.
Add the cashews to a bowl, pour almond milk over cashews until covered. Let stand for 4 hours.
Drain cashews and add to a food processor with 1/3 cup almond milk, IPA, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and vinegar. Process until smooth, about 5 minutes, possibly longer. Add additional almond milk or beer for a thinner consistency.
In a pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil, onions, red peppers and mushrooms. Cook until onions and peppers have softened and the mushrooms have darkened.
Add the garlic and the soyrizo, stir, breaking up the soyrizo.
Add the stout, broth, tomato paste, black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes and chipotle, allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the quinoa, bulgur, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and garlic powder, simmer until the quinoa has cooked, about 15 minutes. The longer chili simmers, the thicker it will be.
Plate on top of tortilla chips, if desired, top with cilantro, avocado, and cashew cream.
I’m so glad I can share this recipe with you. I’ve been working like a crazy person to develop and test recipes that I fall in love with but I can’t share them with you because I need to save them for the cookbook.
And, of course, I’m putting a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to make each recipe a home run.
Because once you buy the book, and actually pay for the recipes, I want them all to be amazing. This, my friend, is a huge amount of pressure on me and the limits of my culinary creativity.
But then I get these crazy ideas, like putting crushed Chicharrones on top of chili and I can’t even wait to share it. I have to post it as soon as possible, even pushing back a more "seasonally appropriate" post because I want to show you this.
And Chorizo, with its spice and fatty goodness, is perfect in chili. In fact, I pretty much raided the "C" section of my local Mexican food market (there isn’t a "C" section, by the way, but there should be) to bring you a dish with chipotle, chorizo, chicharrones, cilantro, cheddar and cumin.
And then I ate three bowls before I could even share it with anyone.
If I was planning on tailgating anytime soon, I would make this in huge vats.
And if you are a "beans in your chili" kind of guy, go ahead and throw some in, I won’t mind.
Or add some sour cream, if that’s your thing.
Chipotle Stout and Chorizo Chili Topped with Pork Rinds
1chipotle pepper in adobofrom can, minced plus more if desired
2cupsChicharronespork rinds, lightly crushed
Makes 4-6 servings
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until onion softens but isn’t browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the chorizo and beef, cook until meat starts to brown. Add the garlic and stir.
Add the beer, diced tomatoes, one chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, smoked paprika, pepper, cumin and Worcestershire sauce. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, until thickened. Add additional chipotle peppers as desired to raise heat level.
Pour into bowls, top with cilantro, cheddar and Chicharrones.
Last Friday I was able to visit the Los Angeles CBS studios. They even let me do a cooking segment. Originally slotted for 4 to 5 minutes, the loved me so much, they let me run to 6 1/2 minutes. Aren’t they great?
A few questions threw me off, "Were you in a sorority?" and "What IS craft beer?"
The first, I’m ok with dismissing, but the second left me to wonder. If you have to define Craft Beer in one sentence to someone who knows nothing about beer beyond the college Greek System drinking games, how would you do that? It seems like everyone has different definitions, some focusing on the size of the brewery, or the quality of the ingredients or the breweries funding source or even if the company is publicly trader. But what about the beer? What makes if truly craft? You could write entire books trying to answer that one question.
What is "craft beer"?
If you have a quick, one sentence answer for me, I’d love to hear it.
But in the meantime, I’m going to introduce you to a beer that was perfect for my sort of sweet, fairly spicy, beer infused chicken wings that are sort of perfect for the beginning of football season.
Dogfish Head, Festina Peche is brewed with peaches (not an extract) that feeds the yeast so the peach flavors are pervasive. Not a beer for everyone, it tends to be a bit polarizing, but an excellent example of a well done Berliner Weisse fermented with peaches. It is also an excellent beer for this recipe.
Rinse the chicken wings in cold water and dry well.
Sprinkle chicken on all sides with cornstarch and rub to coat.
In a separate bowl, add the beer, soy, honey, chili powder, garlic powder, red chili flake, salt, and vinegar, stirring well to combine. Add the chicken, toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for ten to twenty minutes.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Remove the chicken from marinade and arrange wings on the baking sheet and bake at 425 for ten minutes.
While the chicken is baking, add the remaining marinade to a pot over medium high heat, stiring frequently, reduce until thickened and syrupy, about 8-10 minutes.
Once the marinade has reduced, remove the chicken from the oven and brush with the thickened marinade, turn them over, brush with marinade on the other side.
Return to the oven and allow to cook for an additional ten minutes, basting again.
Allow chicken to bake until cooked through, an additional 10-15 minutes.
(Note: the total cooking time for the chicken will be approximately 25-35 minutes, requiring basting every ten minutes)