By Ezra Johnson-Greenough
For the Oregon Beer Growler
When bringing craft beer into your holiday meal planning, it’s not as simple as grabbing a bottle of your favorite winter seasonal and a turkey leg. If you consider how flavors match up and even how beer can bring out hidden notes or enhance savory and sweet classics, then you’ll be handsomely rewarded.
Porter French Onion Soup
I love pairing Alaskan Brewing’s award-winning Smoked Porter with my turkey dinner each year, but what if I added it to the actual recipe instead? I recommend a not-too-bitter malty and roasty porter like Deschutes Black Butte in broths and sauces — or in this instance, a soul-warming French onion soup.
Preparing this salty, beefy and satisfying classic with beer is easy, but taking the time to first slowly caramelize the onions with butter is worth it. This recipe for Porter French Onion Soup will make enough for at least six people.
2 pounds onions, preferably sweet onions with one white onion for pungency
2 garlic cloves
1 cube beef bouillon
4 bay leaves
1 12-ounce or 22-ounce bottle of porter
8 quarts beef broth
1 cup unsalted butter
2 fresh sprigs of thyme and/or rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons flour
--Add cup of unsalted butter to large pot, then add 2 pounds of onions sliced into thin half-circles. Keep heat at a simmer and make sure there’s plenty of oil from the butter or add a little olive or vegetable oil, if necessary.
--Cook onions until they turn a deep golden brown. Add two finely chopped garlic cloves. Onions are ready when fully brown, but not burnt. When edges turn black, remove from heat and add broth. To prevent burning but still allowing to caramelize, add plenty of butter or oil, stirring every few minutes.
--Once onions are caramelized, add 12-16 ounces of porter and all of beef broth. Chop bay leaves, slice garlic and add to pot. Add paprika and single cube or large tablespoon of beef bouillon.
--Turn heat up to medium to reach low, steady boil. Once the carbonation is knocked out of the beer and everything is melding, add Worcestershire and black pepper. Tie together fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme with twine and add to pot or sprinkle dried version of herbs.
--Continue simmering and stirring every 5 minutes for 20-30 minutes as liquid begins to evaporate and flavors meld. Pull out spoonful and taste balance of spices. If needed, add salt. Slowly stir in four tablespoons of flour to thicken.
--To serve, use oven-safe bowl. Toast French baguette or other small slice of bread with garlic butter and place on top of soup. Top that with slice of creamy cheese, such as provolone, gruyere or Munster and cook in oven until cheese melts and bread edges are crisp. Then, enjoy.
IPA Mashed Potatoes
I could go the obvious route with my second holiday recipe and prepare a beer-brined turkey, but that’s been done to death. Instead, I’ll focus on the bedding of any holiday meal that’s arguably just as important as the main dish and that’s the mashed potatoes.
If you’re worried the IPA will make your mashed potatoes too bitter, relax and have a homebrew. It will just make them brighter and more herbaceous. Since I just happened to have a bottle of Deschutes Sagefight IPA on hand, it made for the perfect choice. But if you don’t have that handy, I suggest using an IPA with greener/grassier hops, perhaps something with some garlicky Mosaic hops like Breakside Wanderlust IPA.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup IPA
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 bay leaves
4 sage leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 1/2 cups cream
--Wash skin and poke holes in potatoes, then add to salted, boiling water until they soften and start to break down. Pour out liquid through pasta strainer, then add leftover potatoes to same pot with olive oil and butter.
--Peel garlic skins and chop finely or push cloves through garlic press. Add to pot along with IPA.
--Cook on low-to-medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring and gently mashing potatoes until softer.
--Add cream and chopped/torn herbs or dried herbs. Also add black pepper and salt. Raise heat to just below medium and keep stirring to avoid burning potatoes at bottom of pot. Add salt and herbs to taste.
Vegan Amber Ale Gravy
I am a meat eater myself and if you are too, it’s hard to beat a gravy using real drippings from your holiday turkey. But this is a tasty, healthier alternative that’s better than anything you’d buy in the store. For beer selection you could go with a cheap macro lager, but for more flavor I recommend a sweet malty amber or spiced fall/winter seasonal like a pumpkin ale or even an Oktoberfest beer.
2 medium onions (I chose one yellow and one white)
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 tablespoon herbes de Provence, dried
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon vegan butter
12 ounce amber ale or spiced fall/winter seasonal
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 sprig thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
--Chop onions and add to medium-to-large pot with olive oil coating bottom. Chop or press garlic cloves and add to pot with herbes de Provence, Worcestershire, paprika, pepper and salt.
--Cook over low-to-medium heat. As pot warms, pour beer over ingredients slowly, followed by 1 cup vegetable broth.
--Bring heat up slowly to simmer. Stir frequently to keep onions from burning. Wait until they look soft, then turn off heat.
--After it’s cooled a bit, pour all ingredients in blender and puree for 45 seconds. Pour puree back into pot and rinse with 1 cup vegetable broth, adding that to pot.
--Turn up heat until puree reaches low boil. Add vegan butter, oregano, thyme, Worcestershire and brown sugar. Keep stirring to blend and prevent burning. Slowly stir in cornstarch.
--Turn down heat to low simmer and cook for another 15 minutes or until gravy looks thick.
By Andi Prewitt
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
If you commute on the stretch of Highway 26 between Portland and Hillsboro, you’ve inevitably cursed traffic while doing more sitting and waiting than traveling. The stream of cars, neighboring light-rail line and rows of big box stores make it easy to forget you’re actually in pretty close proximity to rural land devoted to agriculture. Before the area was developed, much of it was used to grow crops and raise livestock. But you can still savor some of that farm-fresh taste just a few hundred feet from a highway off-ramp at Golden Valley Brewery.
The McMinnville-based beer maker and restaurant opened its Beaverton location on Northwest Bethany Boulevard four years ago. The newer pub has a rustic character that’s similar to the flagship brewery — you may be just several hundred feet from the rush-hour crawl outside, but it feels like you’re dozens of miles away in the heart of wine country where moving at a slower pace is enjoyable because you’re tucking into a warm meal with a cold beer. Both sites also boast dishes made from scratch and beef raised on the family-run Angus Springs Ranch, which occupies 76 acres of lush pasture for the cattle. This is the type of brewery where food isn’t an afterthought — it’s there to rival the beer. And if you’ve not been able to take the trip to Yamhill County for one of Golden Valley’s Brewmaster Dinners, take advantage of the Beaverton location if you live in the Portland-metro area. The most recent event there took place in March and featured a mix of courses — some that were warm bites of winter and others that had you celebrating spring. That makes this the perfect time of year to recreate these dishes at home given the mix of chilly rain and warm days that mark May in Oregon.
French Onion Soup/Bourbon Barrel-Aged Atlas Elevator Doppelbock
This is the kind of dish that warms you from within. French onion soup is total comfort food, as rich, thick cheese contrasts with a thin broth that has plenty of beefy flavor. A slight sweetness from the caramelized onion is enhanced by the doppelbock, which has hints of molasses and a Kahlua-like finish.
According to Jesse Shue, Golden Valley brewmaster, “The richness of flavor in both the beer and the soup should make for a very decadent pairing. I chose to serve this beer early in the dinner because we are featuring a number of dark and strong beers and I wanted to give people’s palates a chance to recuperate. The depth and maltiness of the doppelbock should play well with the rich beef broth of the soup.
Tea-Smoked Sturgeon, Seafood Medley/Cerisely Funky Kriek
A sip of this kriek will remind you of when you used to suck on cherry Sweet Tarts all day long. There’s a mouthwatering pleasure and pain wrapped up in the experience and an added smack of Brett in the beer. The acidity can cut through the briny seafood flavors, of which there were many in this course: sturgeon, grilled octopus, mussels and seared scallops. It also offered diners the chance to sample wildly different textures back-to-back.
“I am guessing that the seafood and Meyer lemon will help to bring out the bright, tart quality in our Cerisely Funky Kriek and perhaps highlight some unexpected top notes,” explained Shue.
Chef John Zenger provided the recipe for the sturgeon to accompany this piece. He used an interesting method to prepare the fish. “This Chinese technique of smoking foods yields a distinctive flavor and a beautiful mahogany-colored, lacquer-like finish. It is usually used for chicken, but it is very adaptable. Sturgeon and mussels are particular favorites of mine, and it works for vegetables and tofu as well. Traditionally it’s done in a wok, but any pan into which you can put a perforated insert will work just fine.”
Roasted Pear Salad, Taleggio, Pea Tendrils/Pinot Barrel-Aged Vallee D’Or Saison
The almost musky nature of the creamy Taleggio highlighted a comparative earthiness in the saison. Spiciness in the beer was enhanced by the lemon citronette dressing. Contrasting textures also played well together in the salad — including soft cheese, crisp peas and a roasted pear that was slightly crunchy-on-the-outside, flesh-on-the-inside.
“The heady nose of the Taleggio should work nicely with the funky Brettanomyces notes from the beer, while the fresh herbs play off the herbal notes from hops and saison yeast,” Shue said.
Chuck Sauerbraten, Potato Pancake, Brussels Sprouts Slaw/Whisky Barrel-Aged Old Relic Scotch Ale
The Angus Springs Ranch beef in this dish was so tender, you could cut it with a fork. It was filling and felt as cozy as digging into grandma’s pot roast. This fatty, rich meat brought out plum flavors in Old Relic, which had more toffee notes on its own. It’s heavy, to be sure — an all-evening sipper. But all of the food, including the hash brown-like and slightly sweet potato pancakes.
“This is another pairing of two very richly flavorful treats that I anticipate will be greater than the sum of its parts,” Shue described. “The slight smokiness of the beer should accentuate the roast flavors of the sauerbraten.”
According to Chef Zenger, “This seriously old-school preparation was one of the few things I could think of that would stand up to the massive Whiskey Barrel-Aged Old Relic Scotch Ale. Our treatment was very traditional except for the cut of meat. We chose chuck from Peter’s Angus steers to add a higher fat component than usual to contend with the high alcohol of the ale.”
Almond Tuiles/Pinot Barrel-Aged Black Panther Imperial Stout
There was no break at dessert — the beer was as bold as the rest of them, if not more so. But its chocolate nose and coffee notes made it a dessert in its own right. You could plop a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream in it for a wonderful float, as well. But the chef treated the diners to almond tuiles, which has a shortbread flavor up front and hints of a sugar cookie to finish. The beer enhanced the nuttiness of the almonds.
If you want to bake the tuiles at home, the chef has some advice: “Tuiles are an almond cookie so named because they resemble the terra cotta roof tiles of the same name. This recipe works easiest if you have a silicone baking pad, but parchment brushed with butter works well too.”
Of the last course, Shue expected this pairing would provide “a sweet respite from the dark roasty depths of the beer.” Perhaps the description of Golden Valley’s efforts in the kitchen and the brewhouse will inspire you to find respite from the traffic on Highway 26 at the newer Beaverton pub.
Paired with Golden Valley Cerisely Funky Kriek
Recipe by Chef John Zenger
1 pound sturgeon fillet trimmed of fat
2 pounds kosher salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup loose tea leaves
—Combine salt, white sugar, white pepper and cardamom. Sprinkle sturgeon fillet liberally with this mixture. Let the fillet sit in the refrigerator for an hour, rinse it quickly, then dry it thoroughly with paper towels.
—Choose a wok or a deep-lidded pan large enough to hold the sturgeon. Combine the tea leaves, brown sugar and rice. Line the pan with several sheets of aluminum foil and spread tea mix thickly across the bottom. Set the sturgeon on a bamboo or metal steamer basket or footed rack that will allow smoke to circulate around the fish.
—Cover the pan, place it on a burner and heat it on high until you see the first wisps of smoke. Cook on high heat for another minute or two to make sure the tea mix is well ignited then drop the heat to medium low and cook the fish for about 10 minutes. WARNING: The smoke is quite acrid, so close off the kitchen and open the windows!
—Cool the fish to room temperature and serve sliced.
Paired with Golden Valley Pinot Barrel-Aged Old Relic Scotch Ale
Recipe by Chef John Zenger
3-4 pounds chuck roast
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 ribs celery, sliced
4 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons juniper berries
2 teaspoons. black peppercorns
Salt and pepper
Beef broth or water
1/3-1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps are awesome for this)
—Combine wine, vinegar, peppercorns, juniper berries and cracked garlic cloves in sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let cool to room temperature. Add 2-3 cups water or beef stock.
—Place beef, onions, carrots, celery and herbs in a large dish or plastic bag with seal. Pour marinade over. Place in the fridge and marinate for several days (we marinated ours for 10 days), turning occasionally.
—Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
—Remove meat from marinade, reserving marinade and vegetables. Place meat on rack in baking pan and season well with salt and pepper. Brown roast for 20-25 minutes.
—Place roast in a lidded roasting pan, pour reserved marinade over and add water or stock so it’s about 2/3 covered. Drop the oven temperature to 325 degrees and braise beef for 2-3 hours or until fork tender.
—Carefully remove roast and keep warm. Strain the braising liquid into sauce pan, discarding solids; there should be about three cups. Skim fat off surface of the liquid. Bring liquid to a boil and cook down by about 1/3. Reduce heat to a simmer and add crushed gingersnaps. Continue cooking until sauce is thickened and silky. Season as necessary. Carve the meat into thick slices, nap with sauce and enjoy.
Paired with Golden Valley Pinot Barrel-Aged Black Panther Imperial Stout
Recipe by Chef John Zenger
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup toasted, sliced almonds
—Preheat oven to 400 degrees
—Whisk together sugar, egg whites and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and almonds.
—Drop teaspoons of batter onto a cookie sheet lined with buttered parchment or a silicone baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Gently spread out the plops of batter with the back of a spoon or a fork dipped in melted butter.
—Bake 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Don’t under-bake or they won’t hold their shape.
—Remove pan from oven. While still warm, remove the cookies and drape them over a rolling pin or large dowel to achieve the distinctive half pipe shape. Cool completely before moving. Store in a tightly covered container. These are best consumed the day they are made. Uncooked batter freezes well, so if you have leftovers you can look forward to more cookies.
Monthly recipes and pairings from your favorite brewpubs around Oregon.