Recipe: Tailgating (and Cooking) with Beer

MF Beer Chili

Baseball playoffs and football season are providing plenty of opportunities for delicious tailgating. If beer is normally only a beverage at your tailgate party, try using it as an ingredient in your favorite tailgate foods. I love what Mark Bittman said: “Cooking with beer makes sense: not only is it more flavorful than water, but it’s also more flavorful than any store-bought chicken stock and less ethically objectionable as well. And unlike wine or liquor, you can substitute beer cup-for-cup for stock or water when you’re braising or making soup. Yet like wine, beer is acidic, which comes in handy when you’re baking quick bread, cake or fried foods, because you need a little acidity to activate baking soda.”

Braise your brats or pork roast in your favorite beer, or whip up a batch of quick buttery beer bread. Is there anything better than beer batter for your onion rings? No. And if you haven’t slow cooked cocktail weiners with beer, chili sauce, and grape jelly, it’s time to do so.

Of course the ultimate tailgate food, rich delicious chili, is enhanced by the acidity and yeasty tones of a great beer. Serve it with breadsticks or pigs-in-a-blanket, and plenty of corn chips, cheese, and sour cream. Here, try my recipe:

Tailgate Chili with Beer

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons season salt (I like a cajun mix)
4 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
1 large can whole tomatoes
12 ounces (one can/bottle) beer
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 pound ground beef or sausage

Heat a large pot with olive oil. Add onion and celery and cook until translucent. Add minced garlic, season salt, chili powder, ketchup, worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Stir and allow flavors to combine for a few minutes before adding tomatoes, beer, beans, and corn. Stir and allow mixture to come to a low boil before crumbling ground beef or sausage into the pot. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper before serving.

When it comes to dessert for your tailgate party, the perfect pairing for a bottle of cold beer is one of our Decorated Cookie Cakes. Easy to serve and plenty for your crowd, they always bring their best game to your tailgate. You can even create your own message to cheer on your favorite team.

What are your favorite things to cook with beer? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Cooking with Beer: Tangy Cheese Soup & Beer Bread

MF Soup and BreadLast month we cooked with cocoa, and today in honor of Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day I’m cooking with beer. Because it is made from grain, beer can add a great hearty flavor to your dishes. This soup and bread are a perfect meal for these unpredictable, blustery days in March. The soup is buttery, dense, and slightly sweet. The crust? It’s to die for. It’s a perfect compliment to this soup, which is not too heavy, and bursting with the rich flavors of vegetables, garlic, mustard, and sharp cheddar cheese. It’s smooth, tangy, and has a tiny kick from the red pepper flakes. Go now, grab a couple of bottles of beer and see what you can turn them into. You’ll thank me later.

Tangy Cheese Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup beer
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 half-and-half
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Melt butter in a large pot on medium heat. Add chopped vegetables and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, stirring frequently. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir until combined. Add chicken broth, beer, and water and raise heat to medium high, stirring occasionally. Bring to a low boil and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add half-and-half and shredded cheese, stirring until cheese is completely melted. Add mustard, worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Use a hand emulsion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Taste before adding salt.

HINT: Soups are always better if they have several hours to simmer. To avoid scorching the cheese, simmer your broth and vegetable base for as long as possible before adding the remaining ingredients.

HINT: Add lump crab, lobster, or cubed potatoes for a delicious chowder.

Easy Beer Bread

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 ounces beer (one can or bottle)
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add beer and stir until completely incorporated. Dough will be thick and sticky. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray or butter and transfer the dough, spreading it as evenly as possible in the pan. Melt the butter and pour evenly over the dough. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until brown and crusty on top. Remove from oven and transfer immediately to a cooling rack. Serve and enjoy.

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