Brown Ale and Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

Ugh, it's been a while since I made something to share here. It seems like I always realize it's been a long time, then decide I'm going to make a bunch of stuff, and then another few months go by. Time goes by too fast. Doesn't give me a second to catch up. Anyway, I've been busy applying to grad school and stuff, so if I get in next semester hopefully I'll still find some time to make lots of food. Ooh, also my twin sister is moving to Lima, Peru in two weeks. So lots of changes and new things in the next few months. She's also taking her camera with her (the one I usually use to take pictures of my food) so it's time I get one of my own.

So, the most recent beer and food activity I participated in was a beer cook off at Lou's Beer Garden. I made my shrimp and scallops in a creamy coconut milk and witbier sauce. That was my first recipe on this blog, and still one of my favorites. I didn't win but it was still a pretty cool experience. I've never had the chance to give out my food like that to so many people, and everyone seemed to love my dish. It was definitely a challenge to make enough food for 100 tastings since I'm not used to cooking on such a big scale. But it was really nice to have people be able to taste my food instead of just looking at pictures. It was a little bit scary too, with all the judges peering over their papers and asking me to describe my dish. Eeek. Here are some pictures of my food at the event :)

 Anyway, moving on to my beer risotto. To me, risotto seems like a perfect dish for beer experimentation. The typical risotto process is to cook some onions (or shallots) and maybe garlic in some butter or oil in a large pot. Then add the rice, and after a minute add some wine. Let the rice absorb the wine, and then add chicken or vegetable stock a bit at a time until it is all absorbed and creamy and the rice is perfectly cooked. 

So, as you can see, there is a perfect opportunity to substitute the wine (and some of the stock) for any beer. I mean, think of all the options. If we have a brighter lemon zesty risotto we can use a yummy saison or a hefeweizen. We could do brown ales or even stouts to add depth to earthy flavors. We could make a risotto with pumpkin and some autumn flavors and add a pumpkin beer. We can even make sweet risottos and then there's a million other options there. I opted for a simple shiitake mushroom risotto and added Ellie's Brown Ale for another layer of flavor.

  • 5 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 4 oz white mushrooms, sliced
  • 16 oz arborio rice
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 12 oz beer
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • handful of parsley, chopped

In a large pot, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add the arborio rice and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add a cup of the brown ale and cook until the beer is absorbed. Reduce the heat and add a cup of broth, cooking until absorbed. Continue to add the rest of the beer and broth 1 cup at a time, waiting until each cup is absorbed before adding the next one. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan and cook the chopped mushrooms for 5 minutes with salt and pepper. When the risotto is done it will be creamy and the rice al dente; it will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of butter, mushrooms, and parsley.

P.S. I have a good idea for my next recipe, can't wait  ^_^