How to cook with beer

Nick BennettGood Beer Week is like Christmas for Melbourne’s beer drinkers, with more than 300 events at more than 250 venues over 10 brewed-up days (way too much beery fun to fit into a single week).

Chefs across Victoria having a ball matching menus to the nation’s best craft beer, but one event stands out for sheer beery goodness. Picture this: four chefs and four craft brewers joining forces to create a Sunday lunch with beer as a key ingredient on every plate (washed down with beer, of course)… all on the banks of the Yarra River.

The Arbory’s executive chef Nick Bennett (pictured) will join Matt Stone (Oakridge), Troy Wheeler (Meatsmith) and Renee Trudeau (Gertrude Street Enoteca) at Good Beer Kitchen on May 14, working with Queensland’s Balter Brewing Company, South Australia’s Pirate Life Brewing and Victoria’s Two Birds Brewing and Stomping Ground Brewing Co. And if that’s not enough beer for you, Nick has shared his top five recipes for cooking with the amber fluid. “Beer is great for cooking and should definitely be used more,” Nick says. “As you can see by the recipes, it’s really versatile and can be used  for sweet and savoury recipes.”

  1. Lamb Shanks Braised in Beer

    1. Ingredients
      5 lamb shanks
      Oil for braising
      1 can of Two Birds Taco Beer
      500ml good veal stock
      1 tbs toasted coriander seeds
      1 piece of orange skin
      1 piece lime skin
      1 carrot
      1 stick celery
      1 brown onion
      1 bay leaf
      1 sprig thyme
      1/4 bunch corianderMethod
      Season the shanks with salt and pepper. In a heavy-based large pot, add a dash of oil and seal the lamb shanks until well coloured. Remove from the pot and place them in a large baking dish.
      In the pot used to brown the lamb, add roughly chopped celery, carrot and onion and sauté until nicely coloured. Deglaze with the taco beer and reduce by half. Add the veal stock and bring to a boil. Pour this mixture over the shanks. Add the bay leaf, thyme, coriander seeds and citrus skin. Cover with foil and braise in the oven at 150C for 2.5 hours.
      Remove the shanks then strain the sauce and reduce by half.  Add the chopped coriander and pour back over the shanks to serve.
  2. Milk Stout Ice Cream

    1. Ingredients
      1050g Stomping Ground Milk Stout
      275g brown sugar
      90g egg yolk
      18g tapioca flour
      50g Ovaltine
      4.5g fine salt
      520g milk
      480g creamMethod
      Put the beer and the brown sugar into a medium sized pot on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium-low and reduce the beer and sugar by two-thirds. Remove the syrup from the heat and and let it cool to room temperature.
      Put the egg yolks, tapioca flour, Ovaltine, salt and reduced beer syrup into a blender and puree the mixture until it forms a thick paste.
      Put the milk and heavy cream into a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Remove the dairy from the heat, turn the blender on low and slowly drizzle the hot mixture into the paste in the blender. Increase the blender to medium and blend for 1 minute. Then turn the blender off and strain the ice cream base through a fine meshed sieve.
      Put the ice cream base into a bowl set over an ice bath to cool the base. Refrigerate the mixture for 4 hours then freeze in an ice cream maker.
  3. Beer Ponzu

    1. Ingredients
      2 litres of Balter Alt Brown
      1 sheet dried kombu (edible kelp)
      50g bonito flakes
      2 tbs malt syrup
      50ml lemon juice
      Light sot sauceMethod
      Reduce the beer by half then remove from the heat.
      Rinse the kombu and add to the hot reduced beer. Allow to steep for 20 mins. Remove the kombu and discard. Add the bonito flakes and allow to infuse for 30-60 mins. Then strain through a fine sieve and add the remaining ingredients. Serve over sliced cobia.
  4. Milk Stout Gingerbread

    1.  Ingredients
      270g Stomping Ground Milk Stout
      350g treacle
      1/2 tsp bicarb soda
      350g flour
      6g baking powder
      1 tsp ginger powder
      1 tsp cinnamon
      1/4 tsp ground clove nutmeg
      3 eggs
      160g brown sugar
      200g sugar
      200ml melted butterMethod
      Boil the milk stout and treacle, add the bicarb and allow to cool.
      Sift dry ingredients together.
      Whisk eggs and sugar until well combined. Fold the mixture into the cooled stout and then fold in the flour. Add the melted butter. Pour into a cake tin and bake 160g for 45 mins. Check with a skewer. Allow to cool before slicing.
  5. Beer Vinegar

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    3. Nick uses this beer vinegar recipe in a pickle liquor for the Arbory’s beer pickled onions. He also sprays it over roasted pork to help cut though the fat. “It’s really good over raw or lightly seared Cobia, Bonito or Duck Dish,” Nick suggests. “It’s also great as part of a vinaigrette.  It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.”Ingredients
      960 ml Pirate Life IPA
      2 tbs unpasteurised vinegar (organic apple cider vinegar with mother)
      Cheese cloth
      Place the beer into a glass jar with no lid. Add the vinegar with mother. Tie the cheese cloth over the top with the string or a rubber band.
      Store between 18-22 degrees for 1-3 months, tasting the vinegar along the way to find out how it’s going. You can use the vinegar straight away or you can age it for as long as you like. Filter into bottles, leaving 2 tbs as a mother for your next batch.






How to cook with beer