Good things brew­ing in the kitchen

Beer a nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ent to en­hance your culi­nary reper­toire

Cape Breton Post - - FOOD FOCUS - BY RON EADE

am­ber and Cana­dian base malt from Saskatchewan, and a lit­tle caramel malt from the United States.

“ When we’re looking for spe­cialty malts we can­not al­ways find Cana­dian,” says Donna Warner, Ron’s wife and busi­ness part­ner who does the lab anal­y­sis of yeasts and batches to en­sure ev­ery­thing is just so as the brews progress from wort to fin­ished prod­uct. Novem­ber and felt duty-bound to track down the recipe.

The be­low recipe was cre­ated by ex­ec­u­tive chef Rus­sell Weir at the Sher­a­ton Ottawa, us­ing a bot­tle of Her­itage Tra­di­tional Dark beer (you can sub­sti­tute an­other dark beer if out­side of Ottawa).

“ The first time I had braised lamb shank was four years ago in Scot­land,” Weir says. “I was drink­ing Guin­ness at the time, and the pair­ing was amaz­ing.”

“ So I was think­ing, th­ese shanks should be cooked in beer, and that got me think­ing. I went home and tried it, and now Her­itage Braised Lamb Shanks are on our menu at the ho­tel.

“Cook­ing with beer is a nat­u­ral,” Weir says. “It’s all nat­u­ral and made with grains and herbs. But it’s not the same as cook­ing with wine.

“Nor­mally when you cook with wine you use it to deglaze pans and you cook it vig­or­ously to in­crease its ro­bust flavour. But you don’t want to do that with the hops and herba­ceous na­ture of beer or the hops will burn and be­come more bit­ter.

“So you add beer to­ward the end of cook­ing and not at the beginning, and you don’t cook it vig­or­ously.”

No less tasty are two more recipes, here, from chef Michael Pickard at Ottawa’s In­Fu­sion Bistro for heart­warm­ing Ched­dar Ale Soup and Black Ir­ish Creme Brulee — beer isn’t just for break­fast, you know.

No mat­ter what you pour or how you cook with it, beer of­fers end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties.

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