Good News for Half Beer Lovers

Surely I’m not the only mama who can hardly finish one beer anymore. While I would make an economical date (if Hubby and I ever got such a thing), I hate wasting half a beer. After this last Babe popped out, it still being hotter than hell here, I jubilantly went and bought myself a six-pack. Nothing satisfies at the end of a hot, mama day like a cold beer, right?

Half a beer later, I put the bottle back in the fridge and wondered if dark beer would make a good beer batter. Then I remembered a recipe I’d been meaning to try, Beef Carbonade, I believe it’s called. It sounded basically like stew, but with dark beer thrown in, instead of the more typical red wine. So, throwing any actual recipe to the wind, I set out to make a a beef stew with the second half of my dark beer.

Only, I don’t generally buy beef. What I have is lots of frozen and home canned moose and black bear meat, brought lovingly from Alaska. And for reasons I can’t remember, rather than you’re typical potatoes in the stew concept, I made essentially a gravy, and poured it over noodles.

Voila, my new favorite food!

I’ve made variations on this theme several times now, and I can say without a doubt, cooking meat (or mushrooms) with a dark malty beer is divine! The deep, bittersweet, rich flavor marries bee-utifully. And vegetarians, wait! Don’t click away yet! Because that same flavor, combined with mushrooms makes about the meatiest non-meat gravy I’ve ever had. I made a big batch for Christmas dinner, with two vegetarians in attendance, and I thought it far superior to the turkey gravy.

So here’s my most recent incarnation. I threw in a jar of home-canned moose meat, but most of y’all won’t have such items in your cupboard. You could easily add some fried up burger if you wanted to meat it up:

Shitake Mushroom Carbonade!

If you’ve never had fresh shitakes, holy smokes are them some good eatin! Completely different than the dried variety, which I’m not so fond of. Of course, any mushroom would work.

To coax the meatiest flavor out of the mushrooms, you need to brown them, which means– don’t crowd the pan. Plenty of oil and one single layer of shrooms, on a pretty high heat makes….

Yummy goldeny brown nuggets of mushroom joy! (Note how much they shrunk)

Move the shrooms to a separate dish and caramelize some onions in the same pan. Add the shrooms back in, heat the pan back up to sizzling, then pour your half beer on top. Should roil and boil like a witches brew. Let it boil down till thick and syrupy (a few minutes). Now make a rich brown roux, gravify with the stock/broth/bullion of choice, and stir into your mushrooms.

Simmer a few minutes more to marry the flavors and season to taste. Pour over noodles and serve with sauteed cabbage to enjoy some of the most satisfying comfort food imaginable!

15 thoughts on “Good News for Half Beer Lovers

  1. now I know we’re on the same page… sierra nevada beer.. ; )

    [made in my hometown, Chico…]

    Recipe looks awesome by the way.. I’m in a bit of a cooking rut lately, maybe I’ll try it out.. (unfortunately… all we have is Asahi.. lol light japanese beer… maybe I’ll have my parents bring some sierra down when they visit…}

  2. That looks so yummy! Hubby and I just finished the last of a weeklong moose stew, so I probably won’t make another for awhile, but when I do, I’m going to try your recipe!

    I’m not much of a pasta fan, but I bet it would go excellent with some wild rice and mixed beans :)

  3. this is so timely!

    d and i started “tasting” beers so we split a bottle every night…except i like dark beer and he likes light beer. and i really hate light beer. this is the perfect solution for my other 1/2 of the beer.

    omg, kid #2 is a porker. beautiful. what are you feeding him? must be all that beer increasing your milk output.

  4. mmmmm, that looks delish!! I have only ever used dark beer in cooking in a beef and ‘guinness’ pie. I will have to try this when our weather cools down, perfect comfort food!Dark beer is very popular in our house. Thanks for stopping by my blog :-)

  5. Looks delicious. I use beer and wine also to add a meaty flavor to foods. I don’t like the flavor or the fake chicken and fake beef broths/powders. Just did the sauteed mushroom bit 2 nights ago to put over boca burgers on buns. And I concur, does make a good gravy for potatoes or spaetzle or for the base for mushroom stroganoff.

  6. Fantastic. I’ll be right over. If you enjoy the bivalves, this is a good one for the dark beer leftovers too:

    Saute up some garlic and onion and a few hunks o’ bacon.
    Add in clams or mussels
    Top with dark sweet beer
    Steam until dinner pops open.
    Eat with shit tons of crusty bread.

    1. i adore bivalves. so do my kiddos. just, cant afford them. but damn that sounds good. they do a similar thing here with white wine and mussels. some french name. it’s at least half about soaking up the ambrosial liquid at bottom with said crusty bread. so. yum.

  7. wow! that looks so yummy and so easy… dont think my chicklets would touch it though… =( maybe i’ll serve it up if i ever stop doing this single mom thing and get me a date… lol!!

    1. well i dont know yer chicklets but, unless you use a lot, it doesnt taste beery it just tastes rich and meaty. my kids love it. it’s gravy and noodles. whats not to love?

  8. great over spaghetti squash also I would bet. My 3/4 beer makes great batter for frying fish and clams and shrimp. And yes, with mushrooms… I usually add a can of elk or goose to it :) Perfect! Have also simmered nutria and duck in it with wonderful results.

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