You don’t have to love or even like beer to enjoy the rich, earthy flavor beer imparts on our favorite fall and winter dishes. Each of these recipes tastefully demonstrates that beer isn’t just a beverage, but a versatile ingredient that no cook should be without. Here are some ideas for cooking with beer.
Beer Cheese Soup
This luscious, gourmet soup just might be your new favorite.
2 tablespoons butter
½ lb. thick sliced bacon, chopped
½ cup red onion, diced
12 ounces beer (non-alcohol beers work well in this soup, if you prefer)
4 cups chicken stock or broth
4 cups heavy cream or half and half (tastes great with either one)
1 pound white, extra sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
½ teaspoon spicy brown mustard
Sea salt to taste
Chop bacon in pieces. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. In the same pot, add diced onion to bacon drippings and cook until onions are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add one-half bottle of beer and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken broth and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir. Cover pot with lid and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While soup simmers, shred the cheese into a bowl. Add flour to the bowl and toss to coat cheese.
Stir remaining beer into the pot of soup. Add floured cheese to the pot a handful at a time, stirring continually until cheese is melted. Season with spicy brown mustard and sea salt, to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with bacon bits. Serve with warm Beer Bread (recipe below).
Beer and Beef Crockpot Stew
This recipe was contributed by Allison Mackey, of Tennessee.
8 to 10 red potatoes, quartered
6 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 dash each: sea salt, garlic powder and freshly cracked black pepper
3 pounds stew meat, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces baby Portabella mushrooms, chopped
16 ounces tomato sauce
10 ¾ ounces beef broth
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
12 ounces beer, preferably stout
Put the chopped vegetables into a large crock pot. Add the bay leaves.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour and the dash of salt, garlic and pepper together. Dip each chunk of beef into the seasoned flour and brown in olive oil in batches in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer browned meat to crockpot.
Sauté the onion and garlic in the same skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Add half of the beef broth to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan to season the broth.
Transfer the onion and broth mixture to the crock pot. Add the mushrooms, remaining broth, tomato sauce, onion soup mix, and other seasonings. Pour in beer. Cover crock pot and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Serve with Beer Bread, of course!
Quick Beer Bread
This bread is moist and delicious and so easy to make. No kneading or additional rising time required. Make and bake this tasty loaf in less than an hour. No fancy cooking equipment needed, just stir the ingredients and bake. Pair it with the soup or the hearty stew.
3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 ½ tablespoons aluminum-free baking powder
¼ cup brown sugar (use Turbinado or coconut sugar, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon sea salt
12 ounces beer*
Butter for the top
Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and stir using a large slotted spoon. Slowly pour in the beer as you stir. Continue to fold and stir until beer is thoroughly incorporated into the mixture.
Pour batter into an oiled bread pan (I used coconut oil) and bake at 375° F for 45 minutes, or until golden.
Remove from oven and rub butter on the top of the bread, if desired. Allow pan to cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes before removing bread from the pan. Slice and serve with butter.
*We used Samuel Adams®, Octoberfest seasonal brew. Experiment with your favorite craft beers and additional seasonings for varying flavors.