Cooking with beer is as old as drinking it, a practice enjoyed by many over the thousands of years of beer-making.
As a change of pace, pour some of that beer you’ve been happily sipping into some of your favorite dishes.
The right type of beer should be considered before you start to cook. One rule of thumb is like the one for wine: Use dark beer for hearty dishes and light beer for lighter fare. Ales and lagers are best in cooking, but stout has its place as well.
“Beer can add complexity and depth to dishes, from breads and stews to flavorful sauces,” says chef Orel Kimchi of the Popina restaurant. “But you have to be careful about matching the right beer to the recipe.”
To celebrate his restaurant’s first birthday, Kimchi has added a special section to his already very long menu (which is divided according to cooking method rather than the usual appetizers, main courses and desserts). Dishes made with beer will be served at Popina during the whole month of March.
Kimchi warns home cooks that adding beer to a hot skillet or pot may result in foam overflowing, so do it slowly and carefully.
Another hint he shares is to add some sweetness to the dish, as beer may become bitter when it is reduced.
GOOSE AND CABBAGE
✔ 4 goose thighs
✔ 1 kilo goose fat
✔ 1 star of anise
✔ 4 black pepper seeds
✔ 2 bay leaves
✔ 1 cabbage, sliced
✔ 2 bottles light beer
✔ 100 gr. smoked goose breast
✔ ¼ cup canola oil
Melt the goose fat in a wide pot. Add the salt, pepper and anise star. Add the goose thighs and cook for 2½ hours over very low heat until the meat almost falls off the bone.
In another pot, heat oil and sauté cabbage until tender. Cut the smoked goose breast into small cubes and add to the cabbage. Add the beer to the cabbage and cook for 30 minutes or until most of the beer has evaporated.
Serve the meat and cabbage together.
SHORT RIBS ON POLENTA
Short ribs (or back ribs) are called shpondra in Hebrew. The meat calls for longer cooking times. It has a very meaty flavor, which is suitable to be served with dark beer.
✔ 800 gr. short rib beef
✔ ¼ cup flour
✔ ¼ cup canola oil
✔ 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 4 or 5 pieces
✔ 2 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
✔ 2 bottles of dark beer
✔ 2 sprigs thyme
✔ Salt and pepper For the polenta
✔ 1 cup polenta
✔ 1 liter unsweetened soy drink (or other parve milk substitute)
✔ 2 cups water
✔ Salt and pepper
Ask the butcher to cut the meat into 3x3 cm. cubes, or cut it at home yourself.
Coat the meat cubes with a little flour, season with salt and pepper, and saute in a pot until browned on all sides.
Add carrots, onions and thyme. Pour in the beer and add enough water to cover.
Bring to a boil and lower heat. Simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the polenta. Boil the soy drink, water and seasoning in a pot.
When it is boiling, start adding the polenta in a thin stream while stirring. When all the polenta is cooking, continue cooking over low heat, constantly mixing, until the polenta thickens (about 3 minutes). Adjust the seasoning.
To serve, put a few spoonfuls of polenta in a deep serving dish and top with the meat stew.
Note: if you are cooking polenta for a dairy meal, replace soy milk and water with 1 liter milk, ½ liter cream and 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
MEAGER WITH CHEDDAR CHEESE
Meager is a white fish, which is called musar in Hebrew.
Four 200 gr. filleted portions of meager or other white fish
✔ 100 gr. butter (divided in half)
✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 2 Tbsp. flour
✔ 200 ml. cream
✔ 1½ liters vegetable stock or water
✔ 1 celery stalk, chopped
✔ 1 onion, chopped
✔ 1 carrot, chopped
✔ 100 gr. cheddar cheese, grated
✔ ½ bottle light beer Heat oven to 200°.
In a tall pot, melt 50 gr. butter. Sauté onions in the butter, add carrots and celery.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 50 gr. butter in another pot and mix with 2 Tbsp. flour.
Add cream and stir. Continue stirring and pour in the stock and beer. Cook about 30 minutes over medium heat until liquid is partially reduced. Add the sautéed vegetables and cheddar. Mix well and adjust the seasoning.
Rub fish fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place them on a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
To serve, use a ladle to pour the cream of cheddar into deep serving dishes and top with the fish.
BEER-BASTED APPLES WITH ICE CREAM
If serving with a meat meal, use parve vanilla ice cream.
✔ 4 apples, peeled and cored, chopped
✔ 1 bottle light beer
✔ ¼ tsp. cinnamon
✔ 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
✔ 2 Tbsp. sugar
✔ 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
In a wide skillet, heat the beer. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add butter, mix well and let cool.
Serve apples topped with ice cream. Garnish with chopped nuts.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Popina, 3 Ahad Ha’am Street, Neveh Tzedek, Tel Aviv, (03) 575-7477. Not kosher.