Now that I’m not pregnant or nursing, I can fully enjoy one of my favorite pastimes again: Craft beer!
I love the culture of craft beer. I could easily spend half an hour in a store checking out the art on beer labels. It’s also a great starting point when choosing a restaurant in a new city: do they have a brewery? It’s so fun to split a flight, then rate each one on my phone. Not to mention, there are festivals all year-round celebrating local beer!
But let’s be real: this Mom is mostly hanging out at home. I’m usually exhausted from chasing a toddler around. Having more than one drink will just put me to sleep. However, I’ve found a way to be a parent and still enjoying perusing the beer aisle: cooking!
I prefer cooking my own meals – to save money, and eat healthier. But cooking can become really boring if you let it. Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil, night after night. My new interest in cooking with beer adds an exciting element of chance. Most beer recipes are open-ended: this will taste great with a Porter, Amber, or IPA. There are hundreds of IPAs to choose from! So even if you make a recipe again, it could taste a lot different depending on your beer selection.
Does the Alcohol Really Cook Out?
While alcohol does cook out of foods, it doesn’t completely. The amount of alcohol left in your dish will depend on its preparation and the point at which the beer is added in. Longer cooking time = more time for the alcohol to evaporate.
It’s one of those probably-fine-but-trust-your-own-judgment scenarios. My daughter is still young enough that we commonly make her a separate little plate anyway. But if you want to be safe – beer recipes are great for entertaining at adult events! Think holidays or football viewing parties. It would be fun to serve your dish to friends, paired with the beer you cooked it in.
Here are a couple of seasonal dishes I’ve made so far, with fun limited-release beers. You could start with a beer that caught your eye and let it inspire the recipe selection or vise-versa.
If you’re a beer enthusiast, you’ve probably had cheddar ale soup before. The delicious combination of beer and cheese can be found in this take on a favorite: broccoli cheddar soup! I chose this Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup recipe because it includes a lot of vegetables. Don’t worry: your loved ones will never notice!
Using the slow-cooker is great when I know my afternoon will be busier than the morning! What I like about this Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans recipe is the variety of proteins: lean turkey, quinoa, and black beans. I bought a second can of beans and gave some to our daughter while we chowed down this delicious take on chili.
Have you tried cooking with beer before? If so, have you found any great pairings?