Tag Archives: beer

Braised Rabbit In Belgian Ale

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Rabbit is one of those meats you either love or hate; I’m in the camp that loves it. I don’t cook it often but whenever I do I find myself wondering why I don’t cook it more often. After all, it is readily available fresh in Belgian markets. And rabbit is a versatile meat-it can be grilled, baked, or fried in the same ways one would cook chicken. But my favorite method is slow cooking it in a stew or a braise.

Now that the cooler weather is upon us again braised meat is the perfect dinner. This recipe, adapted from Simply Recipes, is easy to make and the ultimate in comfort food. And when using real Belgian ale, I like to think of it as a quintessential Belgian fall dinner. Serve the rabbit over a parmesan infused polenta or other starch that can soak up the juices.

BRAISED RABBIT in BELGIAN ALE 

1 2 1/2- 3 pound rabbit cut into 6 or 7 serving pieces

Salt

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

6 whole garlic cloves, peeled

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 1/2 cups Chimay or other Belgian ale

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons whole grain mustard

2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • Place the rabbit on a large plate and sprinkle on both sides with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Place the flour on another plate and dredge the rabbit pieces in the flour.
  • Heat the oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted and foamy, add the rabbit in a single layer. Brown on both sides for 5 to 6 minutes per side without disturbing. Remove the rabbit to a plate.
  • Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown.
  • Add the garlic cloves and thyme and cook until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the ale. Simmer for 2 minutes then add the chicken stock. Season with the salt and pepper.
  • Return the rabbit to the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Cover the pot and reduce the temperature to low. Cook for 45 minutes or until the rabbit is cooked through and tender.
  • Remove the rabbit to a platter and keep warm.
  • Increase the temperature to high and reduce the liquid by one third.
  • Reduce the temperature to low and stir in the mustard and sugar.
  • Return the rabbit to the pot and rewarm.

Serves 4-6

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Beer & Honey Baby Back Ribs

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Barbecued ribs are about as American as apple pie. But despite their popularity, ribs are one of those controversial foods where everyone thinks their version is the best with other simply falling short of being the real deal. Often your preference for rib style is dependent upon which part of the country you hail from. Ribs can be marinated in either a tomato or vinegar based sauce or it may be coated with a spicy dry rub. Or maybe you start with a dry rub and move onto basting the meat with a sauce as it cooks slowly over a grill. But really, each method will give you different flavor profiles but all –in my opinion– are equally delicious. All you have to do is think outside of the box.

And thinking outside of the box is exactly what I’ve done with this recipe that is based on one found on the Food 52 website. Not only have I skipped the vinegar or tomato argument instead opting for a sauce made of local Belgian ingredients-dark ale and locally produced honey  but I’ve foregone the grill all together. Thats right, I’ve made delicious and melt in your mouth ribs right in the oven. There really isn’t a better way to enjoy a traditionally summer time treat in the dead of winter. But don’t just take my word for how delicious these ribs are; try them for yourself. You just might want to double the recipe since they are that good.

BEER & HONEY BABY BACK RIBS

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 pounds baby back ribs, trimmed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

1/3 cup honey

12 ounces dark ale

1 bay leaf

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

  •  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Generously season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper. Arrange the ribs in a single layer on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet.
  • Pour the oil into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for five minutes or until the onion has begun to caramelize.
  • Stir in the mustard, honey, beer and bay leaf. Cook until the mixture is heated through.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and brush it over the ribs, pouring and additional sauce over the top of the ribs.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the ribs are fork tender and cooked through.
  • Allow the ribs to cook for 10 minutes before slicing and serving topped with any sauce that has accumulated in the pan.

Serves 6

Beer Braised Chicken Thighs

chicken

Chicken braised in wine is called coq au vin. The dish is a class and a favorite in my house. But what about switching out the wine for beer? I say why yes and it especially makes sense here in Belgium where your choices of delicious beer is virtually unlimited. So when I came across this recipe from Cooking Light I knew I had to try it.

This recipe cooks up quickly yet you have all of the rich flavors you would expect in a dish that cooks for a longer period of time. I’ve adapted it by adding additional spices and switching out porter beer for a spicy and flavorful Belgian winter brew. Choose your favorite beer or experiment until you find one that you like. As is the case with cooking with wine, if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.

BEER BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS
3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4  bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved
3/4 cup dark porter beer, or other beer of your choice
3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Combine 3 tablespoons of flour, the thyme and the paprika in a large zip topped plastic bag.
  • Sprinkle half of the salt over the chicken then add the chicken to the bag, ensuring that it is coated on all sides.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to pan and swirl to coat.
  • Remove the chicken from flour mixture, discarding the remaining flour mixture.
  • Add the chicken to pan and cook for 4 minutes or until browned.
  • Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from pan. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the remaining flour , the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the beer, stock, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil; cook 2 minutes.
  • Return chicken to pan. Reduce heat and cook, partially covered, 15 minutes or until chicken is done.
  • Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Serve with polenta, noodles or rice.

Serves 4

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Cherry Lambic Chocolate Truffles

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Christmas is just nine days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

Some foods are synonymous with a country and here in Belgium beer and chocolate top that culinary list. Walk through any Belgian town and chances are they have both their own brewery (brasserie) and their own chocolate shop. And I must admit that I am a fan of both of these Belgian delights. So what better way to show some national spirit than combing the two into a single treat.

These truffles are adapted from a Food 52 recipe and just one bite will have you hopping on a plane in search of more. Or you can make them yourself since they are quite easy. They are rich and intense without being sweet–my favorite kind of dessert. Be sure to use the best dark chocolate you can find. As far as the beer goes, experiment to find a combination you like. I’m a huge fan of cherry lambic and chocolate but raspberry is also good. Or choose a dark smokey stout which also pairs nicely with the intensity of the chocolate. Do experiment. And most of all, don’t omit the salt since it really brings out all of the flavors.

Here’s a final tip–rolling the chocolate can be an messy endeavor if your hands are warm. I tend to roll four or five truffles at a time then wash and dry my hands before continuing. It makes the process that much easier.

CHERRY LAMBIC CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup cherry lambic beer, or dark beer of your choice

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 pinch flaky sea salt

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder, for rolling

  • Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the beer to a simmer over medium-high heat and reduce to about 1/4 cup.
  • Add the heavy cream to the beer and return to a boil.
  • Pour the hot cream and beer mixture over chopped chocolate and allow to sit 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir until all chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Part way through cooling, sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt over mixture and gently stir it in.
  • When you are ready to proceed, using a melon baller, scoop 1-inch balls of the ganache, roll it between your palms until smooth, and then roll in the cocoa powder to coat. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

Yields 28 1 inch truffles

Cherry Lambic Beer Can Chicken

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I had been hearing about beer can chicken, the whole bird roasted over a can of beer on the grill, for years but had never tried it. While visiting my in-laws this summer my father-in-law made a very tasty beer can chicken. It was moist and flavorful and I was determined to come back to Belgium and try my hand at making my own version.

One only has to search the web to find numerous version of this simple roasted bird. Ingredients may vary but the methods are the same. Invert a whole roasting chicken over a half filled can of beer and grill away. Some recipes call for brining the bird first while others suggest spice rubs. Others have you roasting a completely naked bird. Beer is the most common liquid of choice, hence the beer-can moniker, but other liquids are used as well.

I opted for a spice rub and because I am in Belgium, a Belgian lambic was my beer of choice. Wanting a slightly sweet-spicy and barbecue flavor, my spice rub that included paprika, brown sugar and BBQ 3000 from Penzey’s Spices. (You can easily substitute another spice combination if you prefer). For the beer I chose a cherry lambic which infused the chicken with a slightly sweet-sour fruit flavor. When served alongside some duck fat roasted potatoes and a salad, all I can say is “oh-my”. This recipe is a keeper and is sure to make return appearances at my dinner table. So fire up your grill and break open a can of beer.

Cherry Lambic Beer Can Chicken

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon sweet paprika (or 1/2 tablespoon hot paprika)

1 tablespoon Penzeys Spice BBQ 3000

1 3 1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken

1 can cherry lambic beer

2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • To make the spice rub, combine the salt, brown sugar, paprika and BBQ 3000 in a small bowl.
  • Drink (or pour out) half of the can of beer. Place the crushed garlic cloves inside of the can.
  • To prepare the grill, turn one burner to high and place a grill pan filled with 1/2 an inch of water on the other side of the grill.
  • Generously season the chicken with the spice rub by massaging the rub into all sides of the chicken sprinkling any extra spice into the cavity of the bird.
  • Place the cavity of the chicken, legs pointing down, onto the open can so that it supports the chicken uprights.
  • Place the can, with the chicken on the grill inside of the grill pan.
  • Grill the chicken, covered, until cooked through and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees about 45-60 minutes.
  • Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Serves 4

Cherry Lambic Beer Can Chicken

photo 3-239

I had been hearing about beer can chicken, the whole bird roasted over a can of beer on the grill, for years but had never tried it. While visiting my in-laws this summer my father-in-law made a very tasty beer can chicken. It was moist and flavorful and I was determined to come back to Belgium and try my hand at making my own version.

One only has to search the web to find numerous version of this simple roasted bird. Ingredients may vary but the methods are the same. Invert a whole roasting chicken over a half filled can of beer and grill away. Some recipes call for brining the bird first while others suggest spice rubs. Others have you roasting a completely naked bird. Beer is the most common liquid of choice, hence the beer-can moniker, but other liquids are used as well.

I opted for a spice rub and because I am in Belgium, a Belgian lambic was my beer of choice. Wanting a slightly sweet-spicy and barbecue flavor, my spice rub that included paprika, brown sugar and BBQ 3000 from Penzey’s Spices. (You can easily substitute another spice combination if you prefer). For the beer I chose a cherry lambic which infused the chicken with a slightly sweet-sour fruit flavor. When served alongside some duck fat roasted potatoes and a salad, all I can say is “oh-my”. This recipe is a keeper and is sure to make return appearances at my dinner table. So fire up your grill and break open a can of beer.

Cherry Lambic Beer Can Chicken

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon sweet paprika (or 1/2 tablespoon hot paprika)

1 tablespoon Penzeys Spice BBQ 3000

1 3 1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken

1 can cherry lambic beer

2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • To make the spice rub, combine the salt, brown sugar, paprika and BBQ 3000 in a small bowl.
  • Drink (or pour out) half of the can of beer. Place the crushed garlic cloves inside of the can.
  • To prepare the grill, turn one burner to high and place a grill pan filled with 1/2 an inch of water on the other side of the grill.
  • Generously season the chicken with the spice rub by massaging the rub into all sides of the chicken sprinkling any extra spice into the cavity of the bird.
  • Place the cavity of the chicken, legs pointing down, onto the open can so that it supports the chicken uprights.
  • Place the can, with the chicken on the grill inside of the grill pan.
  • Grill the chicken, covered, until cooked through and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees about 45-60 minutes.
  • Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Serves 4

Cherry Lambic Chocolate Truffles

IMG_5080

Some foods are synonymous with a country and here in Belgium beer and chocolate top that culinary list. Walk through any Belgian town and chances are they have both their own brewery (brasserie) and their own chocolate shop. And I must admit that I am a fan of both of these Belgian delights. So what better way to show some national spirit than combing the two into a single treat.

These truffles are adapted from a Food 52 recipe and just one bite will have you hopping on a plane in search of more. Or you can make them yourself since they are quite easy. They are rich and intense without being sweet–my favorite kind of dessert. Be sure to use the best dark chocolate you can find. As far as the beer goes, experiment to find a combination you like. I’m a huge fan of cherry lambic and chocolate but raspberry is also good. Or choose a dark smokey stout which also pairs nicely with the intensity of the chocolate. Do experiment. And most of all, don’t omit the salt since it really brings out all of the flavors.

Here’s a final tip–rolling the chocolate can be an messy endeavor if your hands are warm. I tend to roll four or five truffles at a time then wash and dry my hands before continuing. It makes the process that much easier.

CHERRY LAMBIC CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup cherry lambic beer, or dark beer of your choice

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 pinch flaky sea salt

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder, for rolling

  • Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the beer to a simmer over medium-high heat and reduce to about 1/4 cup.
  • Add the heavy cream to the beer and return to a boil.
  • Pour the hot cream and beer mixture over chopped chocolate and allow to sit 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir until all chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Part way through cooling, sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt over mixture and gently stir it in.
  • When you are ready to proceed, using a melon baller, scoop 1-inch balls of the ganache, roll it between your palms until smooth, and then roll in the cocoa powder to coat. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yields 28 1 inch truffles

 

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