I know that I am not the only one who enjoys a nice glass of wine or beer with our foods. Sometimes the magic of alcohol is not what is being served at the table but rather what the cook does in the kitchen.
In one of the previous articles I mentioned that cooking with alcohol is like adding salt to food. It adds a complexity, flavour normally helps to bring the entire dish together.
Cooking with beer is no different than cooking with wine, beer ads a balance and a certain type of depth to the dish.
We know beer is bitter, so embrace it! Bitterness is one of the senses of taste and we can use it to our advantage. The hops used in beer making is bitter, adding malt adds a sweet flavour. This helps to harmonize and bring a wonderful balance between the two major flavours of beer. There are so many different flavours of beer using a different beer with the same recipe will provide a different taste sensation each time.
Beer is actually so versatile it can be used in so many different cooking methods. You can use it in baking (beer bread) braising, batters for frying (beer caps – my favourite), deglazing, marinating, poaching, sauces and yes even salad dressings.
We don’t want to get too carried away… as beer can overpower and can make your food very bitter. The key is to allow the flavours of the beer not be to overwhelming.
Braai in South Africa is almost a religion, who doesn’t braai over the weekend? I am always looking for new ways to mix things up a little. In one of my recipe books – “Braai the beloved Country by Jean Nel” I found a recipe that I had to try. I have made caramelized onions before with red wine which was really good, but never thought of doing it with beer. I had to give this a shot.
The difference I found is that the onions although sweet, had more of a rich and savoury flavour where the wine lends more to a much sweeter slightly tang and deeper flavour.
This goes so well with almost anything. You can use it on your Boerewors rolls, hotdogs, burgers, toasties, even on top of your steak with a little strong hard cheese…..hmmmm now I am hungry. I really should not blog when it is lunch time.
Feel free to play around with this recipe, try using different types of beers, in this recipe I used Windhoek Lager as that is the only beer my husband drinks. I don’t understand men though, they tend to be very loyal on their beer brands. For example, my dad only drank Lion Lager (back in the day when it was popular), my hubby Windhoek, a friend of ours only Millers. Drinking a different brand they almost feel like they are cheating on their brand of beer! Maybe someone can explain this behaviour to us ladies.
You can also use wine and then compare and taste how different they are. Don’t be shy in adding some chilli flakes for a bite, or smoked paprika for some smokiness, add a hint of balsamic vinegar for that tang. You can use red onions, sweet onions, brown onions. In this recipe I used white onions. Remember cooking is fun so just go with it and have fun!!
For something completely out there you can even make these boozy onions in a small pot on the fire. Cooking on the fire is always a winner!
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