Tag Archives: Beer

Austin Beer Week: Beer Braised Bratwurst and Greens

It’s Austin Beer Week, and this meal celebrates local produce, charcuterie, and craft beer all in one pot!  In this easy recipe, bratwurst and chopped onions are browned in a skillet, and then slow cooked in a whole bottle of beer for half an hour.  A bunch of dark greens are added in the last 5 minutes of cooking, creating a wholesome, hearty meal with great flavors.

For my version of the dish I paired peppery mizuna from this week’s local box with Independence Brewing Co.’s Sunshine Wheat, but you can use any dark green and beer combination you have on hand.  (The picture above is from another iteration of the recipe, in which I used arugula and Real Ale Oktoberfest. Yum.)  I adapted this one-dish wonder from Anne Dailey’s recipe for Beer Braised Sausage at SustainableTable.com, a terrific slow food resource for home cooks.

Beer Braised Bratwurst and Greens (serves 4)
1 tablespoon butter
4 links of any flavor bratwurst
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 bottle locally brewed beer
1 pound dark greens, such as mizuna, mustard, spinach, arugula, or a mix of these
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Slice onions.  In a large skillet, saute onions in butter over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel and chop garlic.  Add garlic and whole brats to the pan and brown sausage on all sides.

Pour in entire bottle of beer, turn heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes until beer has thickened some and sausages are cooked through.  While sausage is cooking, chop greens.  Cook greens with sausage and onions for the last 5 minutes on the stove, until they’re just wilted. Season with fresh ground pepper.

The greens in this dish taste best the same day they’re cooked.  However, the braised sausage and onions keep well and make excellent pizza toppings later in the week.  I really like to pair them with shaved sweet potatoes or winter squash and goat cheese on homemade pizza dough.

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery and also appears on their blog, “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

Austin Beer Week: Texas Chili Pie

I made this chili pie in support of the Rangers’ first ever World Series appearance and so far it is working! (We’re winning game one of the series as I type.)  The idea for this recipe came from the concession food I liked to eat at Rangers games when I was a kid: frito pie!  This healthier, non-processed version combines a spicy  chili with hearty jalapeno cheddar corn bread.  Pure Texan comfort food!

If tomatoes and fresh beans were in season, I probably would have added them to the chili.  However, this version will satisfy the most picky Texas Chili enthusiasts since it has neither.  In celebration of Austin Beer Week, I used a whole bottle of Independence Brewing Company’s Austin Amber Ale in the chili, plus a half cup in the cornbread topper. The cornbread also features roasted corn and jalapeno peppers plus local cheddar cheese for added flavor and  texture.  You could skip those ingredients in a pinch, but the pie wouldn’t be nearly as rich and tasty!  I adapted the cornbread recipe from The Beer Wench‘s “Some Like it Hot” cornbread.  If you’re interested in gourmet brew, check out her website, it’s very cool.

One last thing: both the chili and the cornbread work as stand-alone recipes.  However, I think the presentation of the pie is really special.  Just like game day food should be! I hope you enjoy this easy and tasty Texas Chili Pie as much as we did, and let’s go Rangers!!

Texas Chili Pie (serves 6)

1 lb. ground venison, beef, or turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bottle Austin Amber Ale
2 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 ear sweet corn
1 fresh jalapeno pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour (n.b. I tried this with whole wheat and it wasn’t good)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Austin Amber Ale
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten

In a heavy bottomed pan, brown meat over medium heat, adding a little oil if it’s very lean, stirring occasionally. While meat is browning, chop onions, garlic, peppers, and cilantro and add to pan. Stir the meat mixture and break up any large clumps of meat. Once onions are translucent and meat is broken up, pour in the beer and stir.  Add paprika, chili powder, cumin and salt.  Allow chili to stew, uncovered, for about half an hour while you prepare the cornbread topping.

For the cornbread: First, cut corn off the cob and mince jalapeno pepper.  Roast corn and pepper in a skillet over high heat with a little olive oil until some kernels of corn are brown.  Set aside to cool.  Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, beer, and egg and stir until just combined. (Lumps are okay.)  Finally, fold in shredded cheese, corn, and peppers.  Set aside and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Back to the chili: stir in cornmeal one tablespoon at a time until chili thickens to desired consistency.  After two tablespoons of cornmeal, mine was as thick as juicy taco meat, just how I like it!  Remove chili from heat and carefully pour it into a 1.5 quart casserole dish.  Gently pour cornbread batter on top of the chili.  Using potholders, put the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, until cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Garnish chili pie with fresh sliced jalapenos, diced onions, sour cream and cilantro.  Cheer for the Rangers!!

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

Austin Beer Week: Bootlegger Cupcakes

I was a little skeptical when I first considered cooking with Indy’s Bootlegger Brown Ale because, truthfully, its deep caramel flavors in are too heavy for me to drink.  I DO love Independence Brewing Co.’s use of local art on their labels, however, so I really wanted to feature this brew, with the label design created by Austin muralists Blue Genie Art Industries.

These cupcakes pair dark beer and dark cocoa, creating a rich moist cake without a heavy beer flavor.  In fact, the caramel in the Bootlegger Ale enhances the chocolate. Yum!  For the cake I used Dave Lieberman’s Chocolate Stout Cupcake recipe, originally published on the Food Network Website, substituting Bootlegger Ale for Guinness.  And instead of using Lieberman’s cream-cheese based frosting, I opted for a lighter whipped buttercream recipe I saw on Pioneer Woman a few months ago.  This recipe yields 24 delicious cupcakes, with just enough frosting to cover each one.

Bootlegger Brown Cupcakes with Ale Frosting
Cake batter:
3/4 cup dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 bottle Bootlegger Brown Ale, minus 2 tablespoons (reserve for frosting)
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream

2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons Bootlegger Brown Ale
1/2 cup sugar (not powdered sugar, just plain white sugar)
1/2 cup butter

Cupcake method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open beer and set aside a few tablespoons for frosting.  Prepare a 24-muffin tin with paper liners or butter and flour.  Sift together cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat and whisk in beer.  Add eggs one at a time, beating completely after each one.  Whisk in sour cream and vanilla until liquid ingredients are thoroughly combined and smooth.  Pour liquid ingredients into the large mixing bowl with dry ingredients. Stir gently until dry and liquid ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way with batter, dividing batter evenly between 24 cups.  Bake in preheated oven for 22 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin before transferring cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting method:  Whisk together flour and milk in a small saucepan.  Heat on medium, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes.  Mixture will thicken as it cooks; you’ll know it’s done when it is the same consistency as brownie batter.  Turn off heat and whisk in beer until mixture is smooth.  Allow mixture to come to room temperature before continuing.  I was in a hurry, so I set the whole pan in a few inches of ice water in the sink to speed things up.  It was cool in about 4 minutes.

Using an electric mixer with beater attachments, beat together butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.  Add the cooled flour mixture and beat on medium high for about two minutes, until the frosting has the consistency of whipped cream. Taste a little tiny bit. It will taste so good that you’ll want to eat the whole thing!  Don’t do that.  Instead, spread frosting on cooled cupcakes and enjoy!!

Happy belated birthday, Andy!!!

Austin Beer Week: Beer Crepes with Apple Ale Syrup

Beer before noon is usually against the rules, but it’s worth making an exception for these crepes, which incorporate two different beers brewed in Central Texas.  I made these for brunch yesterday with my sister and her husband.  He’s a microbrew afficianado and she’s pregnant & craving beer, so I know they would love this recipe. Mom, don’t worry– the alcohol is all cooked out in the finished product; your future grandbaby is safe and well-fed!

For the crepes,  I followed the recipe for beer pancakes from Allrecipes.com, using Shiner Hefeweizen in the batter.  The citrus and wheat in the Hefeweizen give the crepes a light texture and sweet, slightly pungent flavor.  Traditional maple syrup would be much too sweet so instead I topped them with a homemade compote of  locally grown apples and Independence Brewing Co.’s Bootlegger Brown Ale.

Beer Crepes with Apple Ale Compote (yield: 8 crepes and 1.5 c. compote)
Crepe Batter:
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Shiner Hefeweizen
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus additional butter for griddle

3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Bootlegger Brown Ale
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

First, mix crepe batter, either by combining all ingredients in a blender or whisking by hand.  Let batter rest while you prepare compote.

For compote, peel, core and dice three apples.  Melt butter in a saucepan and add apples.  Sautee until tender, then add beer and sugar to the pan.  Stir to combine.  Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat crepe pan and lightly grease with butter. Measure 1/4 cup batter into pan and tilt pan to spread batter evenly.  Once crepe surface is covered in pinhead-sized bubbles, it’s ready to turn.  Gently loosen crepe with a spatula and flip it over.  Cook for about a minute more, then tranfer to a plate.  Top with apple compote and serve immediately.

Austin Beer Week: Venison Pot Pie with Fireman’s #4

This recipe is just the thing for a cold, rainy night when you want to eat comfort food, snuggle under a blanket on the couch and watch some football.  (We haven’t had any cold rainy nights in Texas for several months, but the delicious winter flavors in this recipe at least help you imagine what that might feel like.)  I wasn’t originally planning to make a red meat-based dish for my lineup of Austin Beer Week recipes, but when we got some beautiful white mushrooms as a surprise in our Greenling box this week I knew immediately that I wanted to use them with potatoes and venison in a pot pie of some kind. I adapted this recipe from Mrs. L’s Steak and Ale Pie with Mushrooms on Allrecipes.com.  I replaced her generic ale with Fireman’s #4, a local favorite, brewed by Real Ale in Blanco, Texas.  Fireman’s is a light ale, and I chose it for this recipe because I thought it would complement the game flavors of the venison and mushrooms perfectly.  I left the delicate skin on the red potatoes for texture and flavor, and upped the garlic from Mrs. L’s recipe considerably, from two cloves to four.

The venison I used in this recipe was a butterfly chop killed and processed in rural Iowa on my family’s farm.  If you don’t have a hunter in your family, you can purchase free-range, grass fed venison from Broken Arrow Ranch on site in Ingram, Texas or here in Austin at Whole Foods.  This recipe would also work well with sustainably raised beef stew meat.

Finally, please, please, please make your own pie crust if you’re able.  You probably have the ingredients in your pantry, and even if your pie crust isn’t as pretty as store-bought (mine wasn’t) it will taste infinitely better.  Not sure how? There are excellent step-by-step instructions with pictures at The Pioneer Woman and Joyful Abode.  FYI, their recipes produce 2-3 times more crust than this pie needs, but the pictures and method are universally helpful and worth studying before your first pie crust adventure.

Venison Pot Pie with Fireman’s #4
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup very cold shortening or butter
4 tablespoons ice water
1 pound venison stew meat, cubed
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle Fireman’s 4 Blonde Ale
4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 small red potatoes, diced, about 2 cups
16 white mushrooms, sliced into fourths, about 2 cups
seasoned salt to taste
pepper to taste

Prepare pie crust: mix flour and salt in a small bowl.  Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender, two butter knives or your fingers, until mixture is crumbly and blended. (The largest pieces of butter should be about the size of green peas, completely coated in flour.)  Mix in ice water one tablespoon at a time with a fork. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. The dough keeps will keep in the fridge up to 48 hours.

Prepare filling: Cube venison and dredge (coat) in flour.  Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add minced garlic, onions and venison, stirring frequently.  Once meat is browned, pour beer in and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze.  Stir down the beer and add sliced mushrooms and diced potatoes.  Don’t worry if liquid doesn’t completely cover the veggies, they will cook down.  Season with salt and pepper; I used a 1/2 teaspoon of each.  Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Check on the pot periodically during this time and cover it if liquid level seems to get too low.  Filling is ready when meat and potatoes are tender and liquid has reduced. Carefully pour the hot filling into a 1.5 quart round casserole.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place casserole dish on a cookie sheet. (This makes it much easier to transport in and out of the oven.) Roll out the chilled pie crust and place it on the casserole dish. Pinch crust against the edges of the dish with your fingers and use scissors to cut away any extra crust from the sides of the casserole. Vent the crust by cutting 5 or 6 slits in the top center of the crust with a sharp paring knife.  Use pot holders to transfer the pie to the oven. Note: This was my first try at homemade crust and I felt like I might have ruined it because it looked very different from the ultra smooth Pillsbury pie crust I’ve used before. However, it baked up fine and tasted great.  Don’t get discouraged if your homemade crust looks worse than store-bought!!

Bake pie for 25 minutes at 400 degrees, until gravy is bubbly and crust is golden brown.  Allow to cool for at least half an hour before serving so you don’t burn the entire right side of your mouth. (Not that I did that or anything.)

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

Austin Beer Week

In just a few days it will be Austin Beer Week!  This year’s beer week runs October 24-30 and features tons of tastings, happy hours, and events celebrating craft beers made right here in Central Texas!

I’m planning a whole week of fun recipes using these locally brewed beers:From left to right:
Austin Amber, Independence Brewing Co. (Austin, TX)
Bootlegger Brown Ale, Independence Brewing Co.
Shiner Hefeweisen, Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner, TX)
Real Ale Oktoberfest, Real Ale Brewing Co. (Blanco, TX)
Freestyle Wheat, Independence Brewing Co.
Fireman’s 4 Blonde Ale, Real Ale Brewing Co.
Oklahoma Suks Brand, Independence Brewing Co.

The Shiner’s not technically a craft beer, but it was the closest thing to a local Hefeweisen I could find bottled.

I bought all these single bottles, except the Oklahoma Sucks, at Hyde Park Market at the intersection of Duval and 45th in Central Austin. It’s the gas station in Hyde Park with all the flags, and an excellent resource if you’re looking for exotic beers or brew to cook with.

Hyde Park Market lets you “build your own six-pack” from 7 fridges full of different, single bottles of beer.  Obviously this is an ideal set up if you want to try lots of different beers without committing to a 6 bottles of each one.  When you walk in the gas station, to the right of the front door is a crate full of empty 6-pack and 4-pack holders.

Here are the locally brewed singles in the fridges.  I counted 6 types of Real Ale, 4 types of Independence Ale, and 10 types of Shiner.

I’ll blog my first beer recipe on Saturday.  It’s a pot pie that uses Fireman’s 4, plus locally grown mushrooms, potatoes, garlic, onions, and Hill County venison.  See you then!

House Pizzeria

I know I’m late to the party on this one, but if you haven’t made it out to House Pizzeria you should try it!  Tonight we had their Oktoberfest special pizza topped with beer braised sausage, caramelized onions and cheddar.  It was divine.  Truly inspiring flavors, and the best thin crust I’ve had here in Austin. They had a decent wine list plus a ton of local beer on tap, and my iced tea was fantastic. Our meal came with gratis crunchy bread sticks  and European-style bottled tap water. I knew we were in for a spectacular pie when I tasted cracked pepper, rosemary and fennel in the bread sticks.  Rami and I both split the 12-inch pizza and were comfortably full; total cost for dinner and my drink was under $15, including tip.

The flavors in the pizza inspired me to cook with beer this week.  I just added some Bratwurst from Full Quiver Farms to my Greenling order so that I can make a pasta-free version of this beer braised sausage recipe, from one of my favorite websites, SustainableTable.org.