The Beer Chicks’ Coq à la Bière

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Let's just get it right out of the way that "Coq" means "rooster" okay?  Deal with it.  Moving on, one of our favorite dishes of all time is the delightful Coq au Vin, which means "Rooster cooked in wine."  Originally made from extra roosters that came poking around (if you catch our drift), this is French provincial cooking at its finest. And it's even better with BEER!

The most famous variation of this dish is from the Burgundy region which uses their earthy Pinot Noir as the wine in the recipe, but it's not unheard of – in the northern regions that produce only white to use wine wine in the recipe.  You know what else is produced widely in the northern regions of France?  Correctez vous!  Vive la bière!

Like many dishes, Coq au Vin was a dish that used what was available, a "make due" dish if you will, with many different family recipes spanning Western Europe. So, don't worry about using your delicate poussins for this dish – they'll fall apart.  Buy the "chipper chicken" at the grocery store for under $2.00/lb - find a great French Bière de Garde, and make the best and most traditional Coq à la Bière this side of the big pond!

We love the artisanal beers from Brasserie Castelain à Bénifontaine.  They are reviving artisanal brewing in France (another country with over 90% mass produced / industrialized beer) making three delicious country and farmhouse style beers.  Our favorite is their Castelain Blonde Bière de Garde, which is actually a very rarely made beer style.  It's earthy, dry, herbaceous, grassy, with citrus aromatics and a long but light malty finish.

Try this delicious classic Coq à la Bière using artisanal Bière de Garde made lovingly in the north of France.  Once you eat this you'll be saying "Oui, Oui, Oui!"

The Beer Chicks' Coq à la Bière

Ingredients:

1 bottle (750ml) Castelain Blonde Bière de Garde*  
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs 
1 bay leaf
1/2 leek (cut lengthwise)
6 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice 
3 1/4 lb. chicken thighs and legs
1 lb. button mushrooms sliced thickly
3/4 lb. shallots, halved
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a large saucepan over high heat, slowly pour the beer and boil the beer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Place the rosemary, thyme sprigs and bay leaf against the cut side of the halved leek and tie with kitchen twine. Set aside.

In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Set the same pot over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the shallots and barely cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter. Add the garlic, tomato paste and flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the reduced beer and the broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add the bacon, chicken, mushroom mixture, carrots and bouquet garni. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake until the chicken is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. 

Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. If the sauce needs thickening, transfer the chicken to a plate. Set the pot over medium-high heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.  Discard the bouquet garni. Return the chicken to the pot. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve in the pot immediately. We served ours over egg noodles.  Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from a recipe from Williams-Sonoma.com, which was adapted from a recipe from Canal House Cooking, Vol. 2, by Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton.
 
*Other great Bière de Garde beers to use are Avant Garde by The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, CA and Bière de Garde by Brewery Ommegang from Cooperstown, NY.

Growler + Barbecue = Genius

When the sun finally comes out of the June gloom, our thoughts turn to the obligatory summer barbecue. We know that soon our friends will be calling us up and inviting us over, stressing that we need not bring any food for they will provide the vittles, if we provide the beer. Our next thought is: Gotta get a growler….

If you haven’t delved into the world of growlers then you’re missing out big-time. Growlers are half-gallon vessels sold by breweries to be filled up with all the fresh beer you can drink. The initial purchase of the growler may seem high, but the refill is a great deal in the long run, and it’s the freshest beer you’ve ever had from a professional brewery.

Growlers got their name, as the story goes, from the sound of the carbonation escaping as the top of the vessel was being opened. Some tales suggest that growlers became popular in places where liquor was not available for purchase on Sundays, and liquor stores were closed, so the alternative drinking choice was to visit the local brewery and fill up a jug ‘o’ fresh beer.

Growlers are usually meant for immediate consumption, but if the seal is not broken they can keep for about a week. Growlers are one of the best additions to any summer barbecue – a fresh IPA or Hefeweizen from the local brew will make you the hero of the day. There’s something about summer that makes you crave fresh fruit, freshly grilled meat, and freshly made beer.

Contact your closest craft brewery and inquire about their growler offerings!

The Mulled Spiced Moose

Even though we have a tendency to get a little ahem cynical from time to time, we Beer Chicks really do love the holiday season. But many people poo poo our favorite beverage during this time of year, thinking that beer is only a warm weather drink. Although we beg to differ and think that a delicious craft brew is perfect just the way it is during the holidays; we do have a little beer trick up our sleeves, and it’s called Warm Mulled Beer. And, in a word, it’s awesome.
Super easy to make, delicious to drink and fun to share with family and friends who will be astounded by the warm beer idea, mulled beer is the perfect replacement for mulled wine and egg nog. We use an American Brown Ale for this recipe. The nutty, toasty qualities of the beer work perfectly with the traditional mulled spices usually reserved for wine.
The Beer Chicks’ Mulled Spiced Moose

Ingredients

3 bottles Moose Drool Brown Ale*
1 Cinnamon stick
½ tsp Ground Cloves
½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Star Anise Pod
1 tsp Ground Dried Ginger
1 Orange Rind
1 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Rum

Directions
Super simple! In a medium saucepan, heat beer with the spices, orange rind, honey and rum on low to medium-low, keeping below boiling point. Pour into your favorite mug, serve and enjoy the warm spicy beery goodness.
*Try your favorite Brown Ale. We’ve also used (and liked) Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, Abita Brewing Pecan Harvest Ale, & Goose Island Christmas Ale

It’s Wild: Peach Lambic Ale Cranberry Sauce

One of the main reasons that we Beer Chicks became Beer Chicks is because we value the authentic. So come the holidays, one thing that we cannot abide (especially when it’s so easy to make) is the bastardized version of cranberry sauce, sold to you in a gelatinous mass in an aluminum can. Sad face.

You’ve spent way too much time on the perfect beer brined turkey, or the succulent beer braised prime rib to sully your table with a mass produced, manufactured and, let’s face it, weird cylinder of jiggly, super sweet, plasticy cranberry resembling substance – made with Cranberries (good), High Fructose Corn Syrup (bad), Water (neutral) and also more Corn Syrup (bad).

You deserve more than that. Authentic and delicious cranberry sauce is super easy to make and is even better when you add citrus, herbaceous honey and a tart Fruit Lambic Ale to the pot. Try this cranberry sauce and you’ll be wowed – just like the first time you had that craft beer instead of the fizzy yellow water you were used to drinking!

Lambic Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

• The juice and zest of 2 Blood Oranges
(Seasonal starting Dec.)

• 1 & 1/2 cups of a Fruit Lambic Ale
(We use Lindeman’s Peche Lambic)

• 1/2 cup Pure Cane Sugar
• 1/2 cup Honey
(We like orange blossom honey)

• 1 pinch Sea Salt
• One 12 ounce bag of fresh Cranberries

Directions
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the Blood Orange juice, the Fruit Lambic, the Sugar, the Honey and the salt and bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved add the honey, the Blood Orange zest and the cranberries. Reduce your heat to low and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens – about 15-20 minutes (The natural pectin in the cranberries will thicken the sauce as you cook it).

Serve immediately with your delicious holiday meal, or preserve in small jars and dole out as a perfect homemade beer-centric gift!

The Beer Chicks Rad French Onion Beer Soup

In Los Angeles, we Beer Chicks know that fall is here when the clouds come onshore all the way up to Beverly Hills and it finally starts to rain (read mist).  We know it by the crazy drivers who apparently only come out when it rains.  But mostly we know it by an intense craving for our special Rad French Onion Soup made to perfection with the addition of Flanders Red Ale!  

In order to make the perfect French Onion Soup, we've experimented with several "best" recipes featuring different "secret" ingredients ranging from Cognac, Sherry, Port Wine and dry white wine, but it wasn't until we heard about the addition of Balsamic Vinegar as the celebrated element that we got that spark of beer inspiration.

Why are we so excited about Balsamic Vinegar you might ask?  Well, because the same fermentation (Lactobacillus) that gives Balsamic Vinegar its sizzle of puckering sour acidity is also used in one of our favorite beer styles, Flanders Red Ale.

A Beer Chick's mind is always going in ways that try and figure out how to add beer to everything, so out goes the Balsamic Vinegar and in goes the Flanders Red Ale.  In this recipe we used a beer called Rodenbach from Brouwerij Rodenbach out of Roeselare, Belgium.  Brewed since 1836, this beer is a blend of 75% young beer and 25% aged beer.  This deep, dark red-brown ale is fruity, slatey and oaky, with a puckering tartness that harmonizes perfectly with the carmelized onions and cuts through the melted French Gruyere cheese of our perfect French Onion Soup. 

The Beer Chicks Rad French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

1/2 stick of butter
6 onions sliced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup Rodenbach Flanders Red Ale*
6 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Sierra Nevada Porter Mustard**
1/8 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)
Salt & pepper
4 French bread slices, toasted
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are tender and very brown and carmelized (about 40 minutes). Add the Flanders Red Ale to deglaze the pan and simmer about 3 minutes. Combine beef broth and mustard and add to the saucepan. Simmer about 35 minutes. Add truffle oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into broilerproof bowls, making sure there is room for the toast and cheese. Top each bowl with slice of toast and grated cheeses. Broil until cheeses melt, brown and bubble.

Enjoy with a Flanders Red Ale or for a completely different but equally delicious pairing, try a peppery and citrusy Belgian Saison!

Other Flanders Red Ales that would be great with this recipe are Duchesse de Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe, Vichte Belgium or La Folie from New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO.

*We love this mustard that we bought during a visit to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, CA.  You can substitute it with any Dijon mustard.

Smoked Beer Braised Ribs

As Labor Day approaches, visions of our last great bar-b-que of summer dance in our heads.  This time we're dreaming of one of our favorite beers of the season: the smoky goodness of Smoked Beer.  This year, we're not just going to drink this elixir with our "Q" – we're going to braise delectable baby back pork ribs in Shiner Smokehaus to infuse the sweet ribs with smoky goodness. 

Smoke exists in a couple of different styles of beer that are both ales and lagers.  Usually the smoke comes from smoked malts used in fermentation.  Shiner Smokehaus is a Munich Helles Lager made by the reknowned Texas beer stahlwart Spoetzl Brewing Company, most famous for Shiner Bock.  Just like their 101 Pilsner, this beer from Shiner really surprised us with its delicacy of smoke and the nuance of toasty woody crispness that comes from the Texas mesquite wood-smoked pale malts. 4.9 ABV.

Bill Perozzi’s Delicious Smokin' Ribs

(Note, this recipe is very vague in terms of amounts of spices.  That's just how Bill is!  Read "some" as "a general application" of!)

1 slab of baby back ribs or pork spare ribs

Sprinkle with some onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed and black pepper and rub mixture into the ribs.

Place ribs in shallow pan and half-cover with Shiner Smokehaus.  Cover pan securely with aluminum foil.  Cook at 350 degrees until fork tender but not falling apart, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Place cooked ribs on BBQ grill at high temperature until well seared on both sides (about 5 minutes per side).  Move ribs to side of grill without flame.  Cover with your favorite BBQ sauce (Bill uses a 1 to 1 mixture of KC Masterpiece and Bull’s Eye.)  Let sauce soak in for about 15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.  Eat with a Smoked Lager or a Rauchbier! 

Can't find Shiner Smokehaus in your neighborhood?  Try using the following:

Alaskan Smoked Porter:  Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau, Alaska. Smells like bacon, super smoky, sweet malt, best when aged awhile.
6.5% ABV.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen:  Brauerei Heller-Trum, Bamberg, Germany – Smells like smoked ham, a bit of sweetness with a touch of tangy hops, and huge smoke all around.
5.4% ABV.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock:
Brauerei Heller-Trum, Bamberg, Germany – Smells like a fireplace, huge smoke, touch of caramel, dry on the end.
6.6% ABV.

Spent Grain, Redux

Brewers are into recycling.  The passion for reducing impact, being green, and reusing the byproducts of making beer is hot in the brewing community.  Brewers often buy old equipment from other breweries, recycle their water used in brewing, reuse bottles and kegs, and use wind and solar as a major power supply.

One of our favorite brewing byproducts that lends itself to much reuse is spent grain.  Spent grain is a brewing term which refers to the leftover malted grains found in the mash-kettle.  Once it's provided the fermentable sugars and flavors for the brewing process, it's no longer of use to the brewer, but still perfectly good for a few other uses:

Baking Bread – Many breweries are now reusing their spent grain as an ingredient in bread baked at their brewpubs.  The grain adds a beautiful coarseness and rich earthly flavor, making a perfect rustic bread or bun for burgers.  Spent grain can work in cookies, cakes or pie crusts as well, Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon even adds spent grain to their house-made veggie burger.

Compost – Lovers of living green know that good compost is important to fight topsoil degradation and for good growth in a healthy organic garden.  Schlafly Brewery in St.Louis, Missouri has a beautiful vegetable garden growing from a rich compost soil full of their spent grain.

Mushroom Farms
– Spent Grains (and used yeast) are a perfect environment for growing mushrooms like shitake and oyster.  Breweries like Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland, Ohio give spent graint to Killbuck mushroom farm and use the mushrooms in their recipes at their restaurant.

Cattle Feed – Spent grain contains protein, vitamins, and carbohydrates that are perfect for Cows and other livestock like pigs and goats to digest.  Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California feeds local organic, free-range cattle their spent grain, then uses that meat in their steaks and burgers at their pub.

Girl Scout Cookies for Adults

If you’re like us, you have a visceral reaction to the colorful cardboard boxes of cookies sold on table tops all around the country at this time of year. It’s an intense combination of nostalgia, comfort, and sweet-tooth craving. After all, we were both Brownies and eventually promoted to Scouts, and we remember going door to door trying to sell as many boxes as we could.

So when we realize it’s that time of year we run, don’t walk, to the Girl Scouts selling their delicious boxes of joy and buy up at least 8 boxes (hey it’s for a good cause). Our purchase includes the obligatory extra two boxes of Thin Mints just to put in the freezer for a rainy day in the fall. (Whoever came up with that is our kind of genius!)

It was only a matter of time until we noticed that these delicious cookies would be better with a little craft beer, (of course only for those ex-scouts 21 and older!). I mean, as Beer Chicks, we pretty much try to pair everything in our cupboard or fridge with some craft beer selections; and Girl Scout Cookies, being the best cookies in the world, fit in perfectly with our philosophy that beer is the best drink to pair with any dessert.

So if you have got a stash of these in your house, bring home this selection of craft beer, sit down and sink into tasty nostalgia.

Caramel DeLites + CoCoNut Porter, Maui Brewing Co., Lahaina, Hawaii. 5.7% ABV. – These cookies have a crunchy base, rich chewy caramel, sugary coconut, and sweet chocolate. They may be the perfect cookie. What better to pair with these than a porter made with toasted coconut featuring notes of coffee and vanilla?!

Tagalongs + Banana Bread Beer, Wells & Young’s Ltd., UK. 5.2% ABV. – Tagalongs are those delicious cookies topped with Reces Pieces-like peanut butter and covered in chocolate. Banana seemed like the perfect flavor accompaniment, (if you love honey banna peanut butter sandwiches as much as we do!) so we chose Wells’ ale, which is basically banana bread in liquid form; caramel, banana, nuts and biscuit.

Lemon Chalet Creams + Framboise Lambic, Brouwerij Lindemans, Belgium. 4% ABV. – For those who love fruit tarts with custard and lemon meringue pie, this is a pairing that will please. These cookies with a creamy lemon center are pushed to new levels when paired with a bubbly, tart, sweet rasberry Lambic.

Thin mints + Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout, Kiuchi Brewery, Japan. 7.5% ABV. – The Thin Mint is a masterpiece on its own, but paired with this thick stout from one of our favorite breweries out of Japan, the thin mint takes on another level of decadence. The minty chocolate mixed with coffee is like a peppermint mocha, and carries the kick of coffee and alcohol. We can polish off a whole box of thin mints no problem, and this is the perfect beer with which to wash those babies down!

Shortbread + Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, North Coast Brewing Co., Ft. Bragg, CA. 9% ABV. – if you haven’t dipped a cookie into a glass of Old Rasputin, you haven’t lived! Seriously, this beer was made for dessert, it has that complex bitter baking chocolate espresso flavor from the dark roasted malt, and enough alcohol to make it a fitting night cap. Great on ice-cream, the bitterness of this beer is the perfect balance to any sugary substance with notes of vanilla. The classic Girl Scout Shortbread brings that sugary, buttery vanilla goodness in spades. Go ahead dunk that cookie and taste heaven!

Left Over Corned Beef–Potato Rösti Recipe



Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Corned Beef–Potato Rösti

By Amy Wisniewski

Rösti is a Swiss treat of shredded, cooked potatoes fried into a thick cake until golden. Here we fold in some onions and Corned Beef for a breakfast dish that gives a nod to Corned Beef Hash.

Game plan: In Switzerland, rösti is so popular that many markets sell pregrated, precooked potatoes for use in this dish. We actually found that grating the raw potatoes and placing them in a strainer eliminates the need to precook them, saving time without sacrificing flavor.

This recipe was featured as part of our Make Your Own Corned Beef story.

INGREDIENTS
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Peel potatoes and grate on the large holes of a box grater. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and transfer grated potatoes to the strainer. Add salt and pepper and toss to combine; set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat. Once shimmering, add onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle half of the potatoes over the onions and stir to combine. Press with a spatula into an even layer. Sprinkle all of the corned beef evenly over the potatoes, then top with remaining potatoes and press again with the spatula to form a large potato cake. Cook undisturbed until the underside is golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. To flip the rösti, place a large plate over the potatoes and invert onto the plate. Return the pan to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Slide the rösti back into the pan, reshape if necessary with the spatula, and cook the second side until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Slide onto a cutting board, slice, and serve.

Surviving Beer in Hollywood

The Oscars are looming near and the white hot entertainment news spotlight is firmly affixed on our fair city, Los Angeles.  Yes we Beer Chicks are Los Angelenos.  This fact has led us into some pretty tricky beer territory, as for years Los Angeles was known as a craft beer wasteland.  We proudly persevered to find the best craft beer available in the city.  But succumbing to the L.A. fad diet peer pressure, (we admit it!), while simultaneously drinking craft beer hasn't always been easy.

The Macrobiotic Diet:
Madonna, Gwenyth Paltrow, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore: all these very good-looking celebrities have been said to use a macrobiotic diet to keep them lean, mean, rich and famous.  The macrobiotic diet means no preservatives, no additives and no animals.  You can drink beer as long as it doesn 't have preservatives!  That means certified organic beer.  The Beer Chicks favorite certified organic beer is Green Lakes Organic Ale from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.   This amber ale starts with some citrus on the nose with touches of rose petal and plum. The first taste is tart with toasty pecans in the middle followed by a nice hop bitterness and dry finish. 5.2%ABV.

The Low-Carb Diet:
Most people think alcohol is a carb, but it's not. When it comes to nutrition, alcohol is its own little category: there's protein, fat, carbohydrates and then alcohol.  That being said, for a beer to have a label that reads "low carbohydrate," the beer must have no more than 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving.  Be aware that any beer can say "reduced" or "lower" carbohydrates if that brewery happens to make a higher carb beer.  We are not huge fans of low-carb beers.  To us, low-carb beers represent a world of fizzy watery beers … but if you must, you must…  The Beer Chicks recommend Montauk Light by New York Brewery Southampton Publick House.  This super-light beer (3.5% ABV) is very flavorful for what it is.  Golden with nice fluffy effervescence, with a bready middle and a dry hop zing in the finish.  If you can't find that, there's always Michelob Ultra or Pellegrino.

The Gluten-Free Diet:

A gluten-free diet is one that is completely free of ingredients derived from gluten-containing grains such as: wheat, barley & rye (you know, all the things that beer is made from!) Most gluten-free beers are made from a gluten-free cereal grain called Sorghum. This diet is particularly tough for us, but one gluten-free beer that the Beer Chicks have been digging lately is Green's Endeavor, which is a Belgian-style Dubbel made by Green's Gluten Free Beers of the United Kingdom.  This beer is a deep, dark fruity beer with aromas and flavors of chocolate and licorice.  Slightly liqueur-ish in its mouthfeel, this beer is effervescent with a sweet lingering finish. 7.0% ABV.  (Another gluten-free beer that is more universally available is by Anheuser-Busch called Redbridge.)

The Cigarettes & Coffee Diet:

Similar to the Diet Coke & Vodka Diet, this super unhealthy option is often found in Hollywood nightclubs and is used by super thin model/actresses (to stay super thin) and very poor super thin musicians (to stay awake for their midnight gig).   Instead we Beer Chicks opt for either a smoky beer or a coffee beer.   For smoky, we love the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock from Brauerei Heller-Trum, Bamberg, Germany. This beer smells like a fireplace with huge smoke, a touch of caramel, and a dry finish. 6.6% ABV.  For coffee, we've been totally into Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Company, Fort Bragg, California. One of our favorite brews, deep bitter espresso and dark, dark chocolate. A perfect nightcap. 9%ABV.

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