Over the last 5 years my lovely boyfreind has developed a nose for a good real ale, though so far not a belly. I heartily encourage and support this pastime since pubs with good beer often have some tasty food and decent atmosphere.
I even had a jolly good time at the Campaign for Real Ale Festival (CAMRA) in Nottingham last year, in fact til I properly sorted out the dates I had a sneaky suspicion “the bump” might owe it’s existence to a particularly strong perry. ( Apologies for too much information : and sorry Mum!)
At good pubs and beer festivals it’s wonderful to see the enormous range of British Beers and I have been reading a fascinating series of books by writer Pete Brown , on the impact of society on beer development and vice versa the impact of beer on society.
My knowledge of beers is embarassingly weak, and as a cook though i have long known that sneaking a slosh of wine ) or otherwise improves a lot of dishes , looking through my archives I rarely reach for a beer. Pete Brown writes with such eloquence on the “roast and caramalisation”, qualties of beer that I really want to try some beer recipes.
Since I am prohibited from drinking at the moment I have decided to try cooking with beer. This is perfectly healthy for the bump since with long cooking the alcohol boils off, leaving the great flavour
For the first recipe I have opted for some beef ribs, the butchers in Nottingham seem particularly keen on cheap cuts these stacked high next to the Oxtail. Beef ribs are about 30cm in length and 10cm thick. I usually get the butcher to cut them into three, instanly making them easy to cook and serve
I was wondering what beer to choose out of the selection in our cupboard, I noticed a bottle of Castle Rock’s Harvest Pale this won Supreme Champion at the 2010 Great British Beer Festival in London. Castle Rock is a local brewery, very local in fact the Nottingham brewery is just 10 minutes walk from my house.
Local and award winning seemed like a good bet
For slow cooking I didn’t bother browning the meat , instead opting to pop everything in one pot, I found as the ribs cook they caramelise with the beer and onions producing a delicious gravy ( thickened if you wish with cornflour/flour) . Once cooked the meat should fall off the bone with a gentle nudge from your fork, perfectly tender
Serve with mashed potato or other root vegetables ( I like to mix in celeriac, swede or parsnips) mixed with a blob of horseradish for extra heat.
I usually find a third with plenty of mash and gravy is perfect eat two thirds of a beef rib and you are stuffed.
Beer Braised Beef Ribs
Assume 2/3 of a rib per person.
For 3 beef ribs cut into 3 by the butcher
1 large onion roughly sliced
200ml of beer
1 tsp of marmite
3 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp of english mustard
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp of cornflour to thicken
- Place the onions, marmite , thyme sprigs, English mustard , Black pepper and beer in a cast iron pot. Cover and place in a medium oven 150degC for 4 hours ( or low setting on a slow cooker)
- Fifteen minutes before serving turn off the heat, remove a ladleful of the juice and mix with the cornflour
- Return to the pan stirring in, this will thicken the sauce to form a rich gravy.
I would be really keen to try some beer and food matching, but with the bump on board , that’s going to need to be put on hold for a while.