Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Microbrews and Getting My Chicken Drunk

Not a lot of my women friends like dark beer, in fact, the majority of them don't. Some have never tried it at all. For many people "dark beer" is Guinness and that's the only one they can think of. Poor souls........ they haven't experienced all the wonderful microbreweries and home brewers' beers that are available these days. This girl LOVES dark beer and wishes more girls would try it!

Today's home brewer isn't a guy with a plastic Mr. Beer kit in the basement. It's my friend, the guy at work, a woman I know who cans her own food. It's my mailman, the guy at the service desk at Best Buy. It's all kinds of people who have taken a big interest in brewing a good quality beer of their own, or maybe a clone of a popular brew. 

Brewing supply stores are popping up all around Des Moines and the suburbs here. The home brewer can choose a pre-assembled kit called "Brew in a Bag" with everything they need to brew a specific type of beer, or they can buy separate grains and ingredients to craft their own recipes. Most supply shops have started offering classes and tastings. Brewing supply stores also have beer swaps, and just about everything a home brewer could possibly need to make their own beer.

You might remember our friend Dan Rote, a chef and grillmaster from Waterloo, Iowa- he has shared barbeque and restaurant stories with us a lot. He also likes to brew his own beer and recently tried a couple batches of wine. One was a Concord that was very successful. He said he used to brew up to thirty gallons at a time. He liked having control over the flavor profiles and alcohol content, and, in true chef fashion, loved the creativity aspect. He also said he prefers whole grain brewing over the pre-made kits. Among Dan's brews are IPAs, ales, stouts and fruit beers. 
Evohn's English Mild

Home brewing might be a man's game but Evohn Lee tells us women have just as much interest in brewing and just as much skill and knowledge. Evohn lives in New York so she has a different brewing experience than we do here in Iowa. She sometimes has to deal with the "Boys Club" mentality at the brewing supply store, but forges ahead anyway. 

For her, knowing what's in her beer is very important, and she reads up on different recipes for beer including clones. One of her favorites is a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone that she brewed. She uses both the pre-assembled brewing "kits" that the suppliers make and the whole grain method, depending on what type she is working on.

All this talk about BEER has got me itching to get in the kitchen and cook something with a nice Porter or Stout. Something sweet to go with the malty notes of beer, and with just a touch of heat. It's time to break out some skewers and make kebabs. I chose Exile's GiGi- a fantastic dark (but not as dark as Guinness) European style Munchner Dunkel with a hint of red in the tint, slightly sweet, lots of maltyness and no bitterness. GiGi appeals to me because it's "cute"  for a dark beer, and GiGi is the knickname for gramma in many cultures, and well..... I'm a gramma!

Drunken Chicken Kebabs

1/2 cup Stout or Porter
1/4-1/3 cup honey
3 scallions, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper
4-6 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
olive oil
bell pepper, onion chunks or mushrooms if desired
hot cooked cous cous for serving
minced fresh parsley

Note:   This recipe is also amazing with pork.

In a large plastic zip top bag combine the beer, honey, scallions, garlic, pepper, dry mustard, soy sauce, a couple grinds of black pepper and just a splash of olive oil.  Really crush and pulverize the garlic cloves. If you have a garlic press, that works great! Add the chicken breast cubes to the bag and massage the marinade into the meat. Close the bag and pop into the fridge to marinate several hours or overnight.

Preheat the broiler. Remove chicken from marinade, and pour marinade into small saucepan. Bring to boil and cook about ten minutes until reduced. Cool slightly and marinade will thicken, making it easier to glaze the kebabs.

Thread the chicken onto skewers, including any chunks of vegetables you might like. I like using one inch lengths of scallions and mushrooms. Arrange on a foil lined sheet pan that has been lightly oiled. Brush with the reduced marinade and broil until done, turning once or twice and basting with marinade often.

Sprinkle the kebabs with the minced parsley and serve with cous cous and the vegetables. And don't forget another beer!

The last few years have been a very exciting time for Iowans, especially those of us who have a passion for good food, good wine,and really good beer. Breweries big and small are opening all the time, many with brew pubs, tap rooms and restaurants showcasing the house brews. Des Moines is home to several really good breweries, including Exile, located downtown. South of downtown, across the river and along the bike path is Confluence Brewing Company, a very popular spot for not only great beer but great food in the summer season, with Melts Without Borders being a regular vendor on the scene. 515 Brewing Company is another popular spot in the western suburbs, and Firetrucker Brewery recently opened in Ankeny. No Cooking With Beer recipe would be complete without a trip to one of these breweries so......

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

1 comment:

  1. You know what? This sounds like a fabulous recipe! I am not a huge beer fan but I do like to cook with it at time so going to throw this recipe into the rotation. Thanks!