5-Course Beer Menu

Some couples in our neighborhood get together once a month and have a sort of 'Iron Chef' contest accept we don't normally cook head-to-head in the same evening. The day before we're all scheduled to get together, we release the ingredient to the host couple and they have ~24 hours to prepare a 5-course meal. Ok...it may not make for compelling television, but we have a lot of fun and the meals are quite good! I've learned a few things and I recommend trying this round-robin party theme with your adult-couple friends. 

We drew Beer last year and here are the meals we prepared. We selected and tweaked some recipes that looked like they would turn out well and that we couldn't screw up! 

Beergarita!

Ok...let's start with the most important one...a nice cocktail! 

This is a derivation of the traditional margarita with the addition of beer, preferably a Mexican-style beer such as Corona or Modelo Especial. 
Ingredients

  • Ample supply of ice
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle of beer (Corona recommended)
  • 3/4 cup tequila (Cuervo recommended)
  • 2 cups limeade (Simply Pure brand has nicest flavor)
  • Margarita Rimming Salt
  • 1 lime

Preparation
Fill a blender pitcher with ice. Add beer, tequila, and limeade. Blend until smooth. Moisten the rims of your margarita glasses with lime and and dip into rimming salt. Fill glass with beergarita and garnish with piece of lime. Enjoy! 

If you have a few extra Corona's laying around, be sure to wrap them with a Coolaz Koozies premium beverage insulation...especially if you're enjoying your drinks on a nice beach! 

Belgian Beer Steamed Mussels

Ingredients
(NOTE: This recipe is for ONE serving only. We multiplied this to serve 12 people) 

  • tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound mussels: cleaned, debearded
  • 6 ounces Belgian beer (I used ~1/4 bottle of Tripel Karmeliet, bought from Whole Foods)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • French baguette

Preparation

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  2. Add diced celery, shallots, onion. Cook until softened.
  3. Add mussels, beer, thyme, bay leaf, and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer.
  4. Cook until mussels are open. We cooked 4 servings worth and it took ~5 minutes.
  5. Note: As with clams, discard mussels that do not open.
  6. Serve in bowls with the remaining beer broth and toasted bread. We served with small glasses of Karmeliet beer. 

The classic food compliment with mussels is french fried potatoes, but we went with french bread... 

Keep the Belgian beer at the optimal temperature with proper beverage insulation. 

Beer Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped parsnip
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • *2 x 12-ounce bottles amber beer
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 cups grated Cheddar, best quality possible
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • Chopped fresh parsley

*We used Anchor Steam beer from Anchor Brewing as I know the flavor and thought it would be perfect for the soup. It was. We wanted to select unique beers so everyone could try something different, but we went with Anchor Steam... 

Preparation

  1. Heat oil over low heat in a large pot, add vegetables. We used a non-stick pan as the recipe mentioned the vegetables might stick.
  2. Cook vegetables for 10 minutes until soft, stir occasionally.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add flour, slowly so as to not incur lumps. Consider mixing with cold chicken stock so it won't clump in hot pan.
  5. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Using a whisk, add chicken stock and beer, bay leaves, cayenne pepper and cracked pepper.
  7. Slowly bring to a boil, watching carefully.
  8. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, one hour. Soup may boil over as it gets hot. Stir in heavy cream.
  9. Slowly stir in cheese, allowing time in between additions for soup to come back up to temperature.
  10. Add salt and additional pepper to taste. 

Top with fresh parsley. 

Serve with crusty french bread. 

Black & Tan Roast Leg of Lamb

Ingredients

  • 1 6 1/4-pound leg of lamb, boned, butterflied, trimmed of excess fat and sinew (reserve bone and trimmings for sauce)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped peeled carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup Stout/Porter beer. We used Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery
  • 1/2 cup Longboard Island Lager. I like Longboard from Kona and planned to serve it with the lamb
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • Disposable 11 3/4 x 8 1/2x1 1/4-inch aluminum baking pan
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled butter, cut into 4 cubes
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) honey

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange lamb bone, trimmings, onion, and carrots in roasting pan. Roast until browned, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Pour off fat and discard lamb bone from roasting pan. 

Place roasting pan over 2 burners; add broth and bring to boil, scraping up any browned pieces that stick to the pan. Strain into medium saucepan; discard solids in strainer. Add stout, lager, and mustard; boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. 

This should be done several hours before you cook the lamp or even the night before if you have time. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before finishing sauce. 

Remove top rack from grill. Place disposable aluminum baking pan in center of barbecue (if using 2-burner gas grill, place pan on 1 side of grill). Add enough water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. 

Preheat barbecue (medium heat). I recommend using a propane/gas grill with multiple burners as it is easier to control the heat and heat sources. If using 3-burner gas grill, light gas burners on left and right, leaving center burner off. If using 2-burner gas grill, light burners on side opposite disposable pan. 

Place lamb on rimmed baking sheet. Brush lamb all over with balsamic vinegar; sprinkle all over with granulated garlic, then lemon pepper. Place lamb, rounded side up, on grill rack over aluminum pan. 

Cover grill and cook lamb until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 125 F for medium-rare (temperature of thinner parts of lamb will register between 135 F and 145 F and will vary from medium to well-done), maintaining temperature of barbecue between 350 F and 375 F, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer lamb to cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. 

Whisk butter into sauce 1 piece at a time, then whisk in 1 teaspoon honey. Season sauce with salt and pepper, and more honey, if desired. Thinly slice lamb; arrange on platter. Serve with sauce. 

Be sure to add a little spice to your parties with custom beverage insulators from Coolaz Koozies. 

Golden Ale Tarragon Chicken with Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 oz dried mushrooms. We used porcini.
  • 6 chicken breast halves, bone-in and skin-on
  • 1 Tbsp fresh whole tarragon leaves and 1 Tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup Golden Ale Beer - we used Hoptober Golden Ale, New Belgium Brewing Co.
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400 F. 

Place dried mushrooms in small bowl; cover with 1 ½ cups boiling water. Place a small plate on top of bowl and let mushrooms soak for 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms from bowl with slotted spoon and dry well with paper towel. Reserve 1/2 cup soaking liquid. Chop mushrooms and set aside. 

Place a whole tarragon leaves under skin, flattening and smoothing skin back into place. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. Dredge chicken in flour and pat off excess. In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm canola oil. When very hot, add chicken breast halves, skin-side down and cook 4-6 minutes or until skin is nicely browned. Transfer chicken to shallow baking dish, skin-side up. 

Add butter to same skillet; melt over medium heat. Add shallot, mushrooms and chopped tarragon; saut� 2 minutes, then remove mixture from pan and spoon over chicken. Pour Golden Ale Beer into same skillet; stir in reserved 1/2 cup mushroom soaking liquid. Bring mixture to a boil; boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Whisk in cream until blended; bring to a boil and simmer until lightly thickened. Pour mixture around chicken. Place in oven and bake 35 - 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to plates or serving platter and serve with mushroom sauce. 

Chocolate-Cream Cheese Stout Beer Brownies

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg @ room temperature

Brownies:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes and brought to room temperature
  • 8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4cup white chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs, brought to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 Stout Beer, brought to room temperature
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, or grease and flour pan. In medium mixing bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, prepare cream cheese filling by beating cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in vanilla and one egg until just blended. Set aside. 

In medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt until well-combined. Set aside. In top of double boiler over very low heat, melt butter, bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate chips, stirring constantly until melted. Remove chocolate from heat. 

In large mixing bowl, beat four eggs and one cup sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add melted chocolate mixture, beating until combined. Beat reserved flour mixture into melted chocolate mixture. Whisk in Stout Beer. (The batter will seem a bit thin.) Drop semi-sweet chocolate chips evenly on top of batter, allowing some to sink into batter. Pour entire mixture into prepared pan. 

Pour cream cheese mixture over brownie batter in pan. Cut through mixture several times with knife to create a marbled design. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes on center rack until top is browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Remove brownies from oven and let cool, uncovered, until they reach room temperature. 

Cut into 24 brownies and serve. 

Feel free to select your own recipes as that's part of the fun! Enjoy.