Two Beer Pumpkin Soup

I carved some pumpkins yesterday and then roasted the seeds and made a pumpkin soup. I decided to use two beers in the soup - A pumpkin ale (Shipyard Pumpkinhead) to highlight the pumpkin flavor and a dubbel (Ommegang Abbey Ale) for it's sweeter caramel and fruit notes.

Here is a pretty rough estimate of ingredients:

2.5 lb chopped pumpkin (I scraped mine from the inside of a pumpkin I was going to carve)
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 cup Pumpkinhead
1/2 cup Ommegang Abbey Ale

Place the chopped pumpkin in a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook until tender. Puree the pumpkin in a blender and return to the pot. Over medium heat add the rest of the ingredients. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds. For my pumpkin seeds I covered them in a mixture of melted butter, salt, garlic powder, cinnamon, and paprika before roasting for 45 minutes.

Maduro Lamb Shoulder Chops With Mashed Sweet Potatoes

So I guess I lied when I said I was gonna be posting stuff more often. Oh well. 

I had this really tasty dish a few weeks ago and never got around to sharing it, so I thought I would now. I roasted some lamb shoulder chops with Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale. Cigar City is an awesome brewery from Tampa which has some really interesting beers. I love visiting them whenever I get a chance. This beer is a great brown ale which also happens to work beautifully for cooking. The distinct flavor of lamb in my dish worked really well with the beer's rich flavors. 

Also, I think one of my new favorite pairings is Maduro with sweet potatoes (specifically, buttery, creamy, sugary, mashed sweet potatoes). So good! 
Here's what I used:

lamb shoulder chops
black pepper
garlic powder
Maduro Brown Ale

Sweet Potato:
4 medium sweet potatoes
5 tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
salt to taste

Dipping Sauce:
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp greek yogurt
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp chopped parsley
salt and garlic powder to taste

Season the lamb with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat some oil over high heat on a large pan and brown both sides of the lamb. Place the lamb chops into a baking pan. Add some thyme and a bottle of Maduro Brown Ale. Cook in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Make sure to spoon some of the juices from the pan onto your plate. You know what to do for the mashed sweet potatoes and the dipping sauce :)

Beer and Coconut Milk Ceviche

I've always been against calling anything "ceviche" other than the traditional Peruvian version. Just lime juice, salt, fish, onion, aji amarillo, cilantro, sweet potato, and probably some corn. That's really the best kind and the way it should be. But this way of "cooking" meat is really cool. And delicious. And maybe we shouldn't be limited to only preparing it one way. So I decided to experiment just a little bit... using beer of course. Beer dinners often include ceviche paired with beers, but never with the beer in it. So I gave it a shot.

I made a whole batch of ceviche the normal way and just reserved 1/4 of the fish to experiment with. I was making food for my family and didn't want them to be a bit disappointed if I tampered with their delicious ceviche. So for my portion, along with the lime juice, I added coconut milk and a little bit of Unibroue's La Fin Du Monde (which was left over from the multiples cooking class). It worked just as I had hoped for. Somehow the beer and coconut flavors were so well matched, it's like they were meant to be used together. La Fin Du Monde's citrusy, yeasty flavors and the subtle sweetness of the coconut milk balanced the dish beautifully. And of course pairing it with the beer resulted in perfect harmony. I also included some shrimp and added the traditional sweet potato which still worked amazingly, especially with the hints of coconut.

Maybe I'm just crazy since no one else except me got to try the dish, but I thought it was delicious. I'll have to experiment again on a bigger scale and get a second opinion.

Oktoberfest Pot Pie

I made another beer chicken pot pie this week and wrote down the recipe for it. This time I used Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen. I chose this beer because I thought the bready malts and sweet caramel notes would give a nice touch to a chicken pot pie and complement the crust. Very yummy result.

My recipe was featured in the Oktoberfest edition of the Fresh Beer Times. I know a lot of people ask me how they can know what events or beer dinners are coming up. Subscribing to the Fresh Beer newsletter is a great start. You can check the upcoming events section and find tastings, beer dinners, and many other special events that are happening in south Florida. Be careful though, you're going to want to go to pretty much everything. Here is a link to the latest issue,which includes my recipe :)

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped white mushrooms
10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 cups chopped baking potato (1 large potato)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup peas
1 can evaporated milk (12oz)
1 1/2 cups Ayinger Oktoberfest
4 tablespoons butter
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large pot. Add the onions, celery, mushrooms, and chicken breast, cooking over medium high heat. Season with half a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Once the chicken is browned on all sides, remove it and set aside. Add the milk, 1 cup of the beer, potatoes, carrots, and peas. As the vegetables are cooking, add the garlic powder, chicken bouillon, thyme, and the rest of the butter and salt. Once the potatoes are cooked through, turn off the heat. Add the last 1/2 cup of beer. Dissolve the flour in a small amount of water and stir into the pot to thicken the mixture. Add the chicken back to the pot and place the mixture into 4 oven safe bowls. Cut the puff pastry into pieces big enough to cover each bowl. Beat the egg with a little bit of water and brush onto the sides of the bowl. Cover each bowl with the pastry sheets, pressing down on the sides to seal. Make a small slit on the top of each pie and brush with some of the egg wash. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the pastry is golden brown.