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cooking with beer (and a recipe).

As the fall weather settles in, it seems like our cooking habits change with the seasons as well. It’s more about stews and soups and recipes that take a little longer to prepare are perfect to make on the weekend when you have a bit more time. This chef recipe for apple cider and Navigator Doppel Bock braised spare ribs incorporates cooking with beer and uses a local Massachusetts brewery as its inspiration.

Cooking with beer is a nice alternative to cooking with wine and with all of the great beers on the market now, it’s fun to experiment with some of them in your cooking as well. According to Chef de Cuisine Tyson Podolski from Summer Winter in Burlington, MA, “almost any time you use wine in a recipe you can substitute with beer. Beer adds a subtle sweetness and earthiness to the dish and I find they work best when paired with pork or beef. I especially like dark beers that offer a spicy, fruity note which seem to pair better with meat than most wines.”

When cooking with beer, you can use it in a couple of different ways. If you’re going for a subtle flavor like in a soup, try a splash of your favorite beer (IPAs are a good choice) after reducing the heat just to give it a hint of beer flavor. If you’re going for a deep, rich flavor of a darker beer like in a stew, add it at the beginning and boil it with the rest of the ingredients to help concentrate the flavor and blend it into the flavors of the other ingredients. One thing that’s important to note, especially this time of year, is that a lot of beer makers offer fall-inspired flavors in their brews now and you need to remember that those flavors will only intensify the longer the dish cooks with it. Lastly, and most importantly, cooking with beer is just like cooking with wine…cook with only something you would drink. If you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it.

If you need a little more inspiration for cooking with beer, Summer Winter is hosting a three-course, seasonally-inspired dinner that features different beers from Cape Ann Brewing Co. including their Fisherman’s Ale and Pumpkin Stout as well as a special keg especially for the dinner, this Friday, October 28th at 6pm. The dinner is $45 per person and reservations can be made by calling Summer Winter at 781.221.6643.

Here’s one of the offerings for the night:

cape_ann_logo

apple cider and Navigator Doppel Bock braised spare ribs

This chef recipe is from Chef de Cuisine Tyson Podolski of Summer Winter. The Navigator Doppel Bock is brewed by theCape Ann Brewing Co. in Gloucester, MA and was chosen for this recipe because it adds a sweetness and richness to the dish because of the malts and darker caramelizing (toasting) of the grains. When you’re looking for something to braise in, you want the liquid (whether beer, wine or even stock) to be full in flavor, because ultimately that will be a big part of the taste you experience in the end result.

Chef Tyson serves this dish with braised red cabbage that is braised with some of the liquid from the braising of the pork spare ribs.

dry rub:
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup salt
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely ground, toasted caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
12 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 bottles Cape Ann Navigator Doppel Bock
1/2 gallon apple cider

4 slabs pork spare ribs

1. In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for rub and mix together thoroughly. Reserve 2 tablespoons and set aside. With remaining rub, heavily rub ribs until well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. In a medium sauté pan, add onion, celery and carrots over medium heat. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaves and reserved rib rub and cook for another 2 minutes on medium low heat (until you can smell cinnamon and caraway.) Add Cape Ann Navigator Doppel Bock and cider and deglaze pan, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 250°F.
4. Preheat grill (or grill pan) to medium high heat. Grill ribs for about 4-8 minutes on both sides, making sure not to burn sugar. Transfer ribs to a pan, long enough to hold ribs. Place one layer of ribs down, followed by a layer of vegetables and continue until all ribs and vegetables are layered. Add beer and cider liquid to pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in oven for 2 1/2-3 hours, and cook until ribs are tender (you can eat them now but its best to cool them in its liquid overnight for more flavor. Simply reheat in oven just before serving).

Serves 6-8.

Cape Ann Brewing Co. proudly donates a portion of their sales to Northeast Seafood Coalition, who works to preserve the long-term health of fishery resources, fishing communities and the fishing industry.

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