Cooking with Beer- Food Network

December 8th, 2011
!/system/artwork/0000/0361/Cooking_Couple250.jpg! There’s nothing like sitting back with a tall, cold one. But have you ever thought about taking your love of beer and combining it with your love of food? Adding beer to food can enhance existing flavors and help to create new ones. h2. Know Your Beer You might think beer is pretty simple, but there are many types of beer—lager, ale, cream ale, pale ale and stouts. Each comes with it’s own flavor. Lagers are pale, dry, crisp and refreshing. Ales have more flavor than a lager, sometimes with a fruity, herbal or spicy hint of flavor. Cream ales have a smoother taste than plain ales, and pale ales are robust and often served with spicy food. Lastly, stouts are darker, have a rich, malt flavor and have a creamy head. Before you begin cooking with beer, take time to sample the different kinds to understand the flavors. h2. Why is it good? * Beer contains several ingredients that are beneficial to cooking. * Hops add bitterness and acidity. * Malt content can add sweetness to a recipe, balancing the bitterness of the hops. * Yeast provides a leavening agent that helps with pastry and batter. h2. When To Use Beer Just because you like the taste doesn’t mean you should start pouring beer into all your recipes. Add beer to the list of ingredients when you make the following: * Batter: Whether making breaded fish or deep-fried onion rings, beer batter is a tasty alternative to regular recipes. The yeast helps to produce a light, fluffy batter that crisps well when deep-fried. Try using a pale ale for the batter so not to take away from the flavor of the foods. * Marinade: The acidity and yeast in beer can help tenderize meat, so try creating a marinade the next time you grill a steak or pork chop. Choose your beer carefully; a bitter-tasting beer may not suit your palate. * Glazing/Basting: Roasts, chickens, and hams can all benefit from a beer-basting. You can be a little bit more liberal here with the choice of beer. The flavor won’t be as strong as if you were marinating. * Fish: Try steaming or boiling your shellfish in beer. Oysters, clams or muscles are a good start. Remember not to overpower the fish flavor with beer. As you boil beer, the alcohol and water evaporate and the flavor becomes stronger. You may also want to try poaching fish in beer. Put a little beer in a pan, place the fish in, and cook over a low heat. * Deglazing: Deglazing involves adding liquid to a pan that has just been used for cooking to use the existing flavors to make a sauce. For example, if you are frying up some onions in a pan, add a little bit of beer to remove the scrapings and flavor from the pan. You can create a sauce with the onions and pour it over a cut of meat. Again, don’t let it simmer too long or the alcohol will burn off and you will be left with the bitterness of the beer. * Baked Goods: By replacing some of the water required for certain recipes with beer, you can actually produce desserts with an extra moist texture. A good stout works well in brownies or chocolate cake. Beer bread is another popular choice. Using beer along with baking soda replaces the need for yeast. * Beer can chicken: While this is a little unorthodox, the result is a moist, flavorful bird. When making a whole chicken, place a can of beer (feel free to drink half the beer first, the can should only be half full) on a baking sheet and position the chicken on top of the can. The can should fit easily inside the cavity of the chicken. This should be done on an outdoor grill, preferably. This recipe, which can also be done with turkey, could take a little practice. h2. What Not To Do * Don’t cook with a beer that you wouldn’t normally like. If you would never purchase a certain type or order it in a restaurant, don’t add it to your food. * Don’t try to cut calories with a light beer and expect the same taste. Using light beer, or non-alcoholic beer, may produce a different texture or less body than regular beer. Bielby, Amy. Cooking with Beer. Food Network Canada. Retrieved 2009, from