Tag Archives: beer and food pairings

Smoked Beer Sauerkraut

Get out your Rauchbier, folks! It’s smoked beer sauerkraut time!

Not long ago I was in Oklahoma getting ready for a backyard grillfest with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. We decided to keep it relatively simple. Plenty of bratwurst from Siegi’s Sausage Factory in Tulsa would do the trick fine.

We also just so happened to have some homemade sauerkraut in the fridge. What could be better with bratwurst than a nice, smoky sauerkraut?IMG_1574 I was just about slice up some bacon and get the pork hocks out when my partner in crime reminded me that we had a few vegetarian guests coming. She suggested I make a vegetarian sauerkraut. But … but … I want a nice, smoky sauerkraut, I protested. And besides, we had some hearty grain salads at the ready.

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I’ve made sauerkraut with wine, I’ve made it with hefty wheat wines and Weizenbocks, I’ve made it with gueuze. I’ve even made it vegetarian. But how would I satisfy my craving on this particular day for a deeply rich and smoky sauerkraut without the meat? A light bulb went off in my head, triggered by the Aecht Schlenkerla I spied in the fridge earlier in the day.IMG_5163

So far so good. But adding Rauchbier alone wasn’t going to do the trick. I needed to get that depth of flavour in there somehow. Enter caramelized onions. Lots of them! And lots of butter. Both help round out the beer’s contribution to the dish.

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Unlike my light and zesty Choucroute à la Gueuze recipe I shared a few years back, this sauerkraut is Central European through and through: butter in place of the bacon, duck, or goose fat, and cooked for several hours. Spice amounts are approximate. As far as the sauerkraut goes, use fresh sauerkraut from the deli. Better yet, make your own. All you need is some advanced planning and enough time to let the critters do their thing –– not unlike homebrewing, really. (Details follow the recipe).

Smoked beer sauerkraut is a perfect side dish during grilling season, but it’s also suitable as a main course to help warm those dark days of winter. Even if the base for this recipe is vegetarian, nothing’s stopping you from adding some of those bratwurst fresh from the grill. Whatever the season, pour yourself a Rauchbier and raise your glass in the general direction of Bamberg.IMG_5086

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. fresh sauerkraut, rinsed
  • ¼ cup butter, slowly browned in a saucepan before using in the main dish
  • 4 onions, cut in half and sliced relatively thinly (too thinly and they’ll burn)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • About ½ a bottle of Aecht Schlenkerla Ur-Märzen (I use Aecht Schlenkerla because it’s one of the more intense Rauchbiers out there. Grätzer/Grodziskie, for example, would be too subtle for this dish.)
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries, lightly crushed with the back of a knife
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sea salt or kosher salt to taste. The amount you use will depend on how briny your sauerkraut is. Careful that you don’t over salt.
  • Cheesecloth and cooking twine
  • Accompaniments (boiled young potatoes, or sausages for your carnivorous friends)

Directions

Rinse the sauerkraut according to personal preference. Tie the juniper, cloves, coriander, fennel, celery seeds, and bay leaves in cheesecloth to make a spice bag.

Now crack yourself a beer and start browning your butter over low heat. In the meantime, set a heavy-bottomed casserole over medium-low heat and cover with a fine layer of vegetable oil (you’ll add your browned butter later so that it doesn’t burn). To truly caramelize your onions, you’ll need a good forty-five minutes. Add about a third of the onions to start, and keep adding as the onions reduce down.

If patience isn’t your thing, you can get by with about twenty minutes at a slightly higher heat and still get some richness into your sauerkraut, but going the distance will add that much more depth. When you’ve gotten the onions to where you want them, swirl in your browned butter, add the garlic and cook till it’s aromatic.

Raise heat slightly, deglaze the casserole with your Rauchbier, add the sauerkraut and spice bag, and let everything come to a gentle boil. Check salt and add if necessary, then cover the casserole and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for the next two to three hours.IMG_4932

Beer pairing: Any smoked beer. Porters and stouts would also go well with this dish, and I’m willing to bet that a dunkles Hefeweizen, a Weizenbock, or a dunkles Bock would work as well.

Turning Cabbage into Sauerkraut

Find a dense cabbage, remove the outer leaves, core it, and then slice it thinly. For every five pounds of cabbage you’ll need about 3.5 tablespoons of salt (roughly 2-3% of the weight of the cabbage).

If you don’t own a crock, the fermenting fabrication in Sandor Ellix Katz’s Wild Fermentation works just as well: two food-grade containers of equal size. Just fill the bottom container with alternating layers of cabbage and salt, then fill the top one with water to weigh it down. Top it off with a clean pillow case to keep the bugs out, store the container in a cool, dry place, wait about three to five weeks, and Bob’s your uncle.IMG_5046

Endnotes:

A deli and German-style restaurant in one, Siegi’s Sausage Factory in Tulsa is one of the best places in the U.S. to get German-style sausages. Look them up if you’re passing through Oklahoma on the I-44 some day (8104 S. Sheridan Rd., Tulsa, OK, 74133).

Related Tempest Articles:

Dining Down the Holiday Stretch: Choucroute à la Gueuze

Down the Rabbit Hole: Doppelbock-Braised Rabbit

The Fonduementals of Beer and Cider: Recipes to Warm Your Weekend

Bourbon Squared: Maple-Glazed Pork Belly Meets Barrel-Aged Beer

Images: F.D. Hofer

© 2016 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All rights reserved.

Down the Rabbit Hole: Doppelbock-Braised Rabbit

Rabbit was a rare bird on many a North American menu until relatively recently. Sure, the French had their Lapin à la moutarde and the Germans their Hasenpfeffer. But it wasn’t until European-influenced chefs on this side of the pond began wondering where all the rabbits were hiding that artisanal producers began to answer the demand for this lean and delicate meat reminiscent of chicken in taste and texture.

Unlike chicken, though, rabbit doesn’t come cheap. According to Mark Pasternak, a Marin County farmer interviewed by Karen Pinchin for an article in Modern Farmer, rabbits are difficult to produce on a large scale due to their weak immune systems and a rather unfortunate proclivity to just up and die after being startled. No factory farms for rabbits, then. A good thing for these gentle creatures, but be prepared to shell out a few pennies. Or maybe you, like me, are lucky and happen to know an intrepid backyard farmer who has gotten into this pastime that feeds so well into the desire for local products. IMG_3111

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Doppelbock-Braised Rabbit with Caramelized Onions and Wild Mushrooms

Like duck and venison, rabbit traditionally evokes the autumn hunt and harvest, but this subtly smoky rabbit suits just about any season from early fall to late spring. As I mentioned, rabbit is extremely lean, and almost demands a braise preparation or a lengthy bath in a marinade to keep it from being unpalatably dry. For this dish, I turned to a rich and malty beer that would lend depth to the braising liquid: a homebrewed Doppelbock.

You can make this recipe the “complex” way, or you can save some time and effort by skipping the step with the grill, especially if you’re making this dish in the dead of winter. To get the smoky undertones into the dish, use a Rauchbier or a smoked porter in place of the Doppelbock.IMG_3108 If you do the smoking step on the grill, you’ll free up time to caramelize the onions and prep the other ingredients. The recipe looks time-consuming, but since many of the steps are concurrent, it isn’t that onerous at all. You can start this dish in the late afternoon, and have it on the table by the time your guests have finished up with the first courses.

Wondering what to drink with rabbit? Though typically classed as a “game” meat, rabbit is closer to chicken than it is to venison, so it’s not absolutely necessary to pair it with a rich beer or robust red wine. An aromatic white, such as a Viognier, a lightly oaked Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir, or even a Cru Beaujolais would make an excellent accompaniment. Garret Oliver pairs rabbit dishes with Belgian tripels, Belgian pale ales, or bière de gardes (see his The Brewmaster’s Table, 2003). As a match with a richer sauce and braising liquid like the one in this recipe, a sturdier red (such as a Bordeaux or Côtes-du-Rhône) would not be out of place, nor would a Doppelbock, Scotch ale, Belgian dubbel, or Belgian quad.

Ingredients

For the casserole:

  • 1 rabbit (3-4 lbs.), cut into 6-8 pieces
  • kosher salt and crushed black pepper
  • 1 cup wood chips (cherrywood or applewood)
  • 1 cup dried wild mushrooms
  • 2 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 carrots, cut into large pieces
  • 4-5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 500mL bottle of Doppelbock (or a similarly malty beer like Scotch ale or Belgian quad)
  • 1 cup of water from reconstituting the dried mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp chopped chervil

For the sauce:

  • 1 ½ cups strained braising liquid
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped chervil (If you can’t find chervil, tarragon’s great, too –– just use less of it.)

Directions

Prepare your grill for smoking and soak your woodchips for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, cut the rabbit into 6 to 8 pieces and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Once your grill is starting to smoke, reduce heat to the lowest setting and smoke/roast the rabbit in baking trays for an hour, turning every 15-20 minutes.

While the rabbit is getting its smoke on, melt 1 tbsp butter in a heavy casserole set over low/medium-low heat and caramelize the onions. Don’t rush this step.

Reconstitute the mushrooms with boiling water. When they’re ready, skim the mushrooms out of the liquid, and then strain the liquid to make sure it’s free of dirt or pebbles. Set aside.

If the mushrooms are on the large side, slice them before browning them in a skillet with the other tbsp of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Remove the mushrooms to a plate, and deglaze the skillet with some of the Doppelbock. Add this to the mushroom liquid.

IMG_3109Preheat oven to 300F. Pull the rabbit off the grill, layer the pieces in the casserole with the caramelized onions, and then deglaze your baking pans with the Doppelbock, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Pour all of this liquid along with the mushroom stock into the casserole, and then add the carrots, garlic cloves, and whole sprigs of thyme. Bring all of this up to a brisk simmer on the stove top before covering and placing in the oven for 2 hours. Reduce heat to 250F after one hour.

When the 2 hours is up, discard the sprigs of thyme and then arrange the rabbit, carrots, mushrooms, and onions on a serving platter and sprinkle with chervil. If you have a stock skimmer, this is the best way to get the onions and mushrooms out of the braising liquid. Cover. Strain 1 ½ cups of the braising liquid into a sauce pan. (You can lightly reduce the remaining braising liquid in a separate pan if you’d like a sauce for your side dish.)

Stirring or whisking constantly, reduce the braising liquid over medium-high heat until the liquid has the consistency of syrup. Lower the heat, add the heavy cream, and whisk in the ice-cold butter. Remove from heat and stir in the chervil. Adjust seasoning.

Serve with fingerling potatoes, rice, or Spätzle.

Prep and cooking time: Approximately 3.5 hours.

Depending on the number of courses, serves 4 to 6 people.

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Related Tempest Articles

The Fonduementals of Beer and Cider: Recipes to Warm Your Weekend

Five Recipes for Your Cocktail Hour

Bourbon Squared: Maple-Glazed Pork Belly Meets Barrel-Aged Beer

Dining Down the Holiday Stretch: Choucroute à la Gueuze

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Images by F.D. Hofer.

© 2015 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All Rights Reserved.

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Tempest Gose to Leipzig

GOSE (pronounced GOH-zuh): An ancient and venerable draught from Goslar via Leipzig. A crisply sour ale that, if the ballads and poems of yore are to be believed, makes men strong and women beautiful. More recently, the sensation of the summer in North America. Versatile with food (see below). A beer worth its salt. Gose Bottle n Glass (www-gosenschenke-de)

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We arrived from Berlin in Leipzig’s cavernous turn-of-the-twentieth-century train station on one of those spring mornings that had banished any lingering traces of winter. It was still early enough that not a single spot to get a croissant and coffee was open yet. Undaunted, we wended our way through narrow streets to the Church of St. Nicholas (Nikolaikirche), a focal point of the 1989 protests that led to the ouster of notorious East German dictator, Erich Honecker.

From the church square we headed to the nearby Kaffeehaus Riquet, a fin-de-siècle patisserie combining the splendours of Vienna and Paris, to plan the rest of our weekend. On the agenda: the local food dish, Leipziger Allerlei (admittedly not one of my favourite German specialties); a bottle of the local caraway seed schnapps, Allasch (worth seeking out if you’re in Leipzig); and, of course, Gose.IMG_4811 Why else, pray tell, would we have come to Leipzig in the first place, except, perhaps, to hear organists and choirs perform pieces composed by some guy named Bach?

The Style:

That first Gose we had with dinner on the terrace of the Bayrischer Bahnhof was reminiscent of a Witbier, but sour-tart and like a crisp sea breeze.

Gose’s saline quality makes it rare among beer styles. Even so, it’s a quality that requires a delicate hand: the salt should only remind you of its presence rather than dominate the flavour profile. As Michael Jackson once put it, the salt should contribute a refreshing tang just as it does in Lassi.

A moderately hazy beer, Gose can range in colour from pale straw-yellow to orange-yellow. Gose develops an elegant and dense cap of off-white foam when poured into its traditional narrow cylindrical drinking vessel. Bright coriander reminiscent of a Belgian Witbier contributes to the aroma profile, along with a citrusy-sour character evocative of sourdough bread.Gose Glass (www-bayrischer-bahnhof-de) A complex array of green apple, stone fruit, champagne yeast, and, of course, that mineral-like and tingly hint of the sea rounds out the scents and flavours characteristic of this effervescent beer. The finish is refreshing, dry, herbal, and tart, but not mouth-puckeringly so, with acidity balancing the malt in place of any discernible hop character.

Leipzigers usually take their Gose straight, but like their Berliner Weisse-drinking compatriots to the north, they are not averse to cutting the tartness and acidity of their beer with a shot of raspberry syrup (Himbeer) or the green essence of woodruff (Waldmeister).Allasch (bayrisher bahnhof) On occasion, a shot of the local caraway liqueur, Allasch, makes it into the glass. Mix this into your Gose and you have a beer drink called a Regenschirm (umbrella).

Somewhat counterintuitively for such a vibrant and refreshing beer, Gose is also a candidate for aging. Michael Jackson mentions a turn-of-the-(twentieth)-century book that, in addition to listing original gravities for Gose between 1036 and 1056, makes reference to young and old versions of the beer. Garrett Oliver provides another indication of Gose’s aging potential, noting apropos of the similarly sour Berliner Weisse that “after months or even years of aging, [Berliner Weisse] emerges with a floral lemony fruitiness and fine, knifelike acidity” (Oliver, 99). Two vintages of Oklahoma’s Choc Gose in my recent Gose tasting session (see the next article in the series) lend further weight to the case for aging this beer in order to develop some of its secondary yeast characteristics.

Gose with Food

As far as food pairings go, Gose’s refreshing acidity, spice, and mild salinity extend the range of possibilities in the direction of dishes that also go well with Berliner Weisse, Gueuze, and Witbier. Try Gose with grilled halibut, or with any fish served in a citrus beurre blanc. Gose’s inherent tartness cuts the richness of a Hollandaise or Bearnaise sauce at the same time that its dash of salt complements the eggs and butter in these sauces. Gose would also make an excellent accompaniment to moules frites; better yet, add the beer to the braising pot in place of wine. With its coriander notes, Gose pairs seamlessly with ceviche.

IMG_4822And it goes without saying that Gose has enough acidity to pare down even the heaviest of German meat and potato dishes. But not all German food is as heavy as Eisbein. Back in Leipzig, we had the perfect marriage of northern German cuisine and local beer at the Bayrischer Bahnhof: pickled herring (Matjesfilets) with onions in a cream sauce––a sublime food-and-beer pairing if ever there were one.

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Gose is low in alcohol (typically around 4% ABV), and is eminently thirst-quenching. If you haven’t yet tasted any of this sour wheat beer with its coriander spiciness and traces of mineral salinity, get ye to a bottle shop before the shadows start to lengthen on summer. IMG_4833Related Tempest articles:

Gose: A Beer Worth Its Salt (on the history and revitalization of the style)

Milling Against the Grain: Grimm Bros. Goes All-Germanic

Recommended Reading:

Michael Jackson, “Salty Trail of Germany’s Link with Wild Beer” (2000: originally published in What’s Brewing [October 1, 1996]).

The German Beer Institute, “Gose” (2004).

BJCP, “2014 BJCP Style Guidelines Draft” (2014).

Garrett Oliver, The Brewmaster’s Table (New York: HarperCollins, 2003).

Images

Gose bottle and glass: www.gosenschenke.de

Stained window, Thomaskirche: F.D. Hofer

Glass of Gose: www.bayrischer-bahnhof.de

Leipziger Allasch: www.bayrischer-bahnhof.ed

Matjesfilet: F.D. Hofer

Visual pun on Berlin’s Ampelmann at a Leipzig café: F.D. Hofer

© 2014 Franz D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All Rights Reserved.

The Fonduementals of Beer and Cider: Recipes to Warm Your Weekend

Fondue is a consummately convivial dish in any season. I’ve had fondues in summer, crowded around a communal table at Le Refuge des Fondues, that long-lived Montmartre institution famous for serving barely-drinkable wine in baby bottles. Yes, baby bottles. And I’ve had plenty of fondues in winter. Fondues marked many a special occasion in my family, with mid-December and early January birthdays expanding the holiday calendar on both ends. (Maybe this is why I can’t help but associate fondues with cold and snowy winter evenings.)

For my family, there was and remains only one way to make a fondue: Zermattequal parts Emmenthal and Gruyère cheese, white wine, and a hearty dose of Kirsch. Even today, this “classic” Swiss fondue remains one of my favourites. But I remember a late spring evening some decades ago in Zermatt, the picturesque town in the shadow of the Matterhorn, an evening that awakened me to the possibilities of this rustic dish. For starters, the restaurant listed not one but several fondues. This, in itself, was a revelation. I settled on the herb fondue, a classic Swiss fondue with so much basil that the fondue was more brilliant green than its typical yellow-cream colour.

IMG_0056Since that evening, I have concocted dozens of variations on the traditional fondue for what has become an annual winter dining tradition chez moi. To keep things interesting, I began experimenting with different combinations of cheeses and ingredients. I might, on occasion, add morels and roasted garlic, or sundried tomato and oregano, or even finely diced pancetta. It was just a matter of time before it occurred to me that I could melt the cheese in a liquid other than white wine.

Following are three fondue recipes straight from the Tempest cookbook, fondues that’ll warm the guests around your dinner table and keep the conversation lively well into the wee hours. The first features hard apple cider as its base, while the second is a richer affair bolstered by Doppelbock. The final recipe may be the only fondue recipe you’ll ever need.

For all of these recipes, you’ll need some way to keep the pot of bubbling liquid and cheese warm at the table. You’ll also need long forks. A fondue set works best, but you can always rig something up. All recipes serve four to six people, depending on how much bread and other accompanying food you’ve prepared.

Gorgonzola Apple Cider Fondue

Ingredients:

  • .3 lb. Gorgonzola dolce, cubed (use Cambozola if you can’t find a less assertive gorgonzola; it’s good to have a mix of creamy and pungent cheeses)
  • .4 lb. Gorgonzola piccante, cubed
  • .5 lb. Gruyère, grated
  • 1 cup hard apple cider, off-dry
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp. Poire Williams
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • For dipping: broccoli florets, cauliflower florets (parboiled); brown mushrooms (whole); fennel (sliced); 1 loaf sourdough bread or country bread (cubed)

Directions:

Prep the vegetables. Parboil the broccoli and cauliflower, and leave the fennel and mushrooms raw. Cube the bread.

Cube the Gorgonzola and grate the Gruyère. Cut the garlic clove in half, and rub the inside of the fondue pot. Mince the remainder.

Heat the cider and minced garlic over medium heat till liquid begins to bubble, turn the heat down, and begin adding the cheeses slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon: Gruyère first, then the Gorgonzola. When it is all melted, dissolve flour in the Poire Williams and stir in. Check the seasoning, and add pinches of sea salt if need be.

Serve with apple cider, an American pale ale, a crisp northern German Pilsener, or a dry/off-dry Riesling.

Aged Gouda and Doppelbock Fondue

Ingredients:

  • .7 lb. aged Gouda, grated
  • .3 lb. Gruyère, grated
  • .2 lb. Emmenthal, grated
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup Doppelbock
  • ¼ cup Amontillado Sherry
  • ½ shallot, diced finely
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. sherry (Amontillado or Oloroso)
  • 2 tbsp. grainy German mustard
  • cayenne (pinch)
  • nutmeg (pinch)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, rye bread, or country bread (cubed)

Directions:

Cube the bread and grate the cheese. Mix the flour into the grated cheese. Heat the beer and sherry till it bubbles. In a separate pan, melt the butter and sauté the shallots. Add the shallots to the bubbling liquid, then slowly incorporate the cheeses. Add the pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne. Once melted, finish with the sherry-mustard mix. (If fondue doesn’t appear thick enough, dissolve more flour in the sherry-mustard mix). Check seasoning, and add sea salt if needed.

Fondues aren’t for those watching their waistlines, and this one’s at the far end of the richness scale. I find that Doppelbocks aren’t the best accompaniment – too much of a good thing. Try a Hefeweizen, or a lighter Weizenbock like Weihenstephan’s Vitus. A glass of Amontillado complements this dish wonderfully.

Swiss Fondue (Family Recipe)

Ingredients:

  • .5 lb. Emmenthal, grated
  • .5 lb. Gruyère, grated
  • 1 cup dry and fruity white wine
  • 1-2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 tbsp. Kirsch
  • freshly ground nutmeg (pinch)
  • freshly ground black pepper`
  • 1 loaf french bread, cubed

Directions:

Cube bread. Grate cheese, and mix with flour. Rub fondue pot with garlic. Heat wine in fondue pot over medium heat till it simmers. Reduce heat. Slowly stir in the grated cheese.

Image Source: www.switzerlandcheese.ca

Image Source: www.switzerlandcheese.ca

Once the cheese has incorporated into the wine, add the kirsch. (If the fondue appears runny, dissolve a bit of flour into the kirsch beforehand). Stir in freshly-ground black pepper and nutmeg, then transfer to fondue burner. Et voilà.

Beverage choices for this kind of fondue are fairly wide open. White wine from Swiss, German, Austrian, or eastern French regions are typical accompaniments, but you could also opt for a red wine like a Beaujolais, even a lighter Pinot Noir. As for beer, try an aromatic and lower-IBU American IPA, or a southern German Pilsener.

Guten Appetit!

Related Tempest Articles

Bourbon Squared: Maple-Glazed Pork Belly Meets Barrel-Aged Beer

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Zermatt Image Source: Wikipedia

Fondue Pot: F.D. Hofer

© 2014. F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All Rights Reserved.

Bourbon Squared: Maple-Glazed Pork Belly Meets Barrel-Aged Beer

’Tis the season for rich dishes that combat cold evenings. If you’re looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous turkey (or if you just plain like pork), this dish echoes the flavours and aromas of the bourbon barrel-aged beers I featured last weekend. It would also accent the maltiness of English-style barley wine quite nicely. Serve your favourite kale dish as a side so that you don’t feel too bad about eating and drinking such an ample combination.

Maple-Glazed Bourbon and Apple Cider Pork Belly

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Ingredients

  • 2.5 to 3 lbs pork belly, rubbed generously with coarse sea salt and pepper
  • 1.5 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 pinches salt (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp mixed peppercorns
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup for the glaze

Directions

Rub pork eight hours beforehand or, preferably, the night before. Remove from fridge about twenty to thirty minutes before cooking and preheat oven to 300 degrees. While the pork is coming up to room temperature, prepare the vegetables and the braising liquid (apple cider, bourbon, chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves).

Heat about 1 tbsp oil in a heavy casserole. Cut the slab of pork in half, and brown each piece over medium-high heat, one at a time, until golden brown. Drain fat, reserving 1.5 tbsp.

Add the vegetables to the reserved fat and sauté. Scrape all of this to the side, and deglaze with the pot with vermouth. Gently score the fat side of the pork belly slabs, return to the pot, and  add the braising liquid. Bring up close to a boil and, if need be, adjust salt level before placing in the oven.

Cook in oven for 2 hours, and then turn the oven down to 200 degrees for the next 1.5 hours or so.

Remove pot from the oven, and remove the pork slabs. Strain and de-fat the sauce, and then begin reducing it. While the sauce is reducing, add the maple syrup. Continue Reducing until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Cut the pork slab into large cubes, and crisp each fat side in a skillet or stainless steel pan over medium-high heat. Place on a plate, and spoon the glaze over the cubes.

Wine complements this dish just as well as beer. A lighter red wine would do just fine, but don’t forget about the compelling possibilities of white wine. Try an aged Chenin Blanc from the Loire region of France – an excellent match with the maple and bourbon in the glaze – or even a crisp sparkling wine from California or the Finger Lakes.

Bon Appétit!

Related Tempest Articles

The Fonduementals of Beer and Cider: Recipes to Warm Your Weekend

Bourbon in Michigan: Barrel-Aged Beer along the Great Lakes

A Trio of Barrel-Aged Imperial Stouts: Prairie’s Pirate Bomb, Goose Island’s Bourbon County, Victory’s Dark Intrigue

© 2013 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All Rights Reserved.