Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Dinner - Cooking With Beer

Hopefully, everyone has had the chance to get a break from the daily grind and enjoy the holiday season.  And while the snow here on the eastern seaboard is a day late of being a White Christmas, it's a welcome sign of the season.

Recently, I have to admit that I have been caught up in the 'cooking with beer' concept.  Most of this has been driven by listening to Sean Paxton on The Brewing Network's The Homebrewed Chef.  While there is a pleasant novelty of using beer as an ingredient, the impetus has forced me to get my basic cooking skills in order to accommodate some of Sean's recipes.  Who knew there was a foodie in me? 

With our house playing host to family for Christmas, it gave me the perfect opportunity to try out several new recipes as part of our holiday feast.  With the meal being a success, I figured I would post the beer-related recipes here for two reasons. The first was in the chance the experience cajoles a reader to give the recipes a try.  The second reason, which is a bit more selfish but probably the real driver, was write down the recipe and notes so I can refer back to them sometime in the future.

In either case, if you are interested, certainly check out Sean Paxton's website or give him a listen on The Homebrewed Chef.

Dubbel Candied Yams
(Discussed on the 12/16/10 episode of THC)
These came out awesome, although with all the sugars in the dish, we had to keep them away from the diabetic who was at the table.
  • 2.5 lbs Yams (peeled and cut in 1" disks)
  • 750 ml bottle of La Trappe Dubbel
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup of local wildflower honey (thanks again Bil)
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla are called for in the original recipe, but they slipped my mind during the mad dash to get everything on the table.
Mix the dubbel, sugar, honey (and spices) and bring them to a simmer.  Once the syrup is simmering, add in the cut yams and return to a boil and cover.  Cook yams for 35 minutes.  Remove the lid and cook down for another 10-20 minutes to thicken the syrup.  Serve warm.

Barleywine Marinated Rib Roast
(Taken directly from Sean's recipe)
This was the centerpiece of the meal and a favorite amongst those at the table.  I was a little concerned it might come out a little too rare, but it came out perfect.
  • 8 lbs Rib Roast
  • 1 bottle of Anchor Old Foghorn
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 lbs kosher salt
Wash the roast in cold water then pat dry with paper towel.  Place in a roasting pan and pour the bottle barleywine over the top of the meat and cover.  Every 30 minutes for the next two hours, baste the meat with the barelywine.  Preheat the oven to 250 F.  Place the meat on a roasting rack and insert digital meat thermometer probe.  Rub the meat down with mix of 2 tbsp salt & 2 tbsp pepper.  Then coat the top of the roast with 1/2" of kosher salt. 

Place meat in the oven and cook until the internal temperature rises up to 120F (~4 hrs).  Remove the roast from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes.  Raise the temp of the oven to 500 F.  Scrap off salt layer and place meat back in hot oven for another 10 minutes to brown and caramelize the outside of the roast.  Remove the meat and let rest for another 20 minutes before carving.  The final internal temp of the meat was 141 F when carving.

In addition to the above, I also prepared the barleywine sauce as described in Sean's recipe.  However, when it got to the table, the result was too bitter to palate (probably reduced it down too much) and I pulled it from the meal to be replaced with a traditional au jus.

Horseradish Ale Sauce
(Taken directly from Sean's recipe)
Another good hit.  There is a bit of a citrus tang from the IPA that complements the horseradish kick.  This was made the night before and while primarily made to accompany the beef, it was also used as a dip with crackers.
  • 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup of homebrewed IPA (New Belgium's Ranger IPA clone)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp all-purpose flour
Add horseradish, beer, salt, sour cream, mayo, and pepper and whisk together.  The initial mixture came out too liquidy, so I whisked in 2-3 tbsp of flour to thicken.  Refrigerate until use.

Roasted Garlic IPA Mashed Potatoes
(Taken directly from Sean's recipe).
Because there were some people at the table who were not garlic fans, we made the garlic cream sauce the night before and then folded it into half the mash potatoes that were to be served.  The result was good, but there was no noticeable IPA/citrus character - just good garlic mashed potatoes.
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2-4 tbsp homebrewed IPA (New Belgium's Ranger IPA clone)
  • kosher salt and pepper
Cut the top 1/4 - 1/5 of each garlic head, exposing the cloves within.  Dosed each head with olive oil, a sprig of thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Wrapped each head up in a square of foil and roasted them in the oven (pre-heated to 300 F) for 30-40 minutes.  After roasting, pull the heads out and let cool for 5 minutes.  Squeeze out all of the cloves into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.

In a medium pan, combine the butter, cream, 2 sprigs of thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove thyme sprigs and add in garlic paste.  Simmer for 3 more minutes while stirring to break up garlic.  Remove from heat and season with salt, paper, and IPA.  Placed the cream sauce in the fridge until use, when about half the mixture was folded into mash potatoes.

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From both Tom and I, we hope everyone had a splendid holiday and have plans for a wonderful New Year.



"It is not 'just beer', it is a noble and ancient beverage which, like wine, food, and television advertising, can be extraordinarily good or unmercifully bad."
-Stephan Beaumont

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