With NC Beer Month upon us, we’d like to embrace our craft beer community in a unique way — all month we’ll be inviting guest bloggers to talk about the exciting times our state is experiencing, and the myriad ways to enjoy NC beer.
First up is Nikki Miller-Ka, a Triad food blogger and beloved member of our Foothills family, who’s passion for cooking and craft beer often intertwine.
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Cooking with beer is a magical thing. The soft, yet bitter undertones of the hops give way to caramel, malt, yeast and biscuit flavors and aromas that only a true beer lover (or soon-to-be beer aficionado) can truly appreciate.
When it comes to the actual heat-on-food part of cooking with beer, I have to be honest: your craft beer deserves a much kinder fate than simply sticking a can of your favorite brew up a chicken’s undercarriage and plopping it on a grill.
For starters, there are surprisingly simple ways to infuse craft beer into your cooking:
– Add a lager to a bread recipe
– Glaze your Easter ham with bourbon barrel aged stout
– Substitute Carolina Blonde for milk in Grandma’s yellow cake recipe
Whether it be an ale, lager, stout, porter, sour, lambic, or a mixed beer cocktail–there is something for everyone to enjoy. It’s just like water. Water with hops, grain and yeast in it. #BecauseScience, you can replace ANY liquid in your favorite recipe for beer. Because the flavor of many beers is light, I suggest you cook down your brew and reduce it to concentrate the flavor before adding it to baked goods, sauces and other recipes.
For my hopheads, be careful when you use that double IPA to make your next BBQ sauce, chocolate cake or even beer jelly (PB and beer jelly, anyone?). The hoppy aroma you love will dissipate the more you boil the beer. Try a splash or two of your favorite IPA (it’s Hoppyum right?) after reducing the heat. If you’re going for the deep rich flavors of a darker beer such as a porter or a stout, add it at the beginning and boil it with the rest of the ingredients. The sweet and roasty flavors of the malted barley will blend in with the flavors of the other ingredients.
Never cook with a beer that you wouldn’t drink. And never forget to drink while you cook.
Feeling confident? Good. Give this recipe a try.
Craft Beer Jelly
3 cups beer
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 (3 oz) package of liquid pectin (I used Certo/Sure Jell)
1. In a large stock pot bring the beer to a boil, then lower the temperature so the beer is just barely simmering. 2. Add sugar one cup at a time, stirring to make sure each cup has fully dissolved before adding the next cup.
3. Once sugar is dissolved, add pectin and bring back up to a boil and let cook for 3 minutes. The beer will roll and foam. If need be, remove from the heat periodically so the pot doesn’t boil over.
4. Add lemon juice, stir and pour into warm sterilized jars or glasses. Clean up rims and place on lids, if using.
5. Loosely tighten bands so they will hold but will not leak, turn jars upside down for 15 minutes.
6. After 15 minutes has passed turn jars right side up and let finish cooling. If not using lids, simply let the jars cool and cover tops with wax paper and seal with string for gifts.
If the jelly doesn’t jell, simply re-heat jelly until simmering and add half a pouch of pectin and 3 more tablespoons of lemon juice. Re-jar and so forth.