Beer Soaked Thanksgiving
Forget Draft Magazine's recommendation for a "Beer Infused" Thanksgiving that - except for the cranberry sauce - calls for mere drops of beer in dressings or glazes.
This will not do. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate overabundance. One cousin invited over does not a family gathering make in the same way that 1 TBSP of beer in a recipe does not make it a "beer dish." No. This is the time to be with as many of the ones you love and consume as much the things that you love.
And you love beer.
Below are my top five Thanksgiving Beer Soaked recipes that fully incorporate all the important parts of a Thanksgiving meal and the beer. I encourage everyone to branch out and beer soak your Thanksgiving favorites!
BEER BRINED TURKEY
In case you didn't know, alcohol is a natural tenderizer. I didn't know either until I found this great recipe from The Beeroness. In addition to this, the wonderful rich flavors of a delicious brown ale will bring out and highlight all the rich turkey flavor that everyone is looking forward to.
Tips: Remember, this a potentially a multiple day process if you have frozen turkey. You will need roughly 8 hours to thaw (30mins/1lb of turkey when submerged in cold water) PLUS 16-18 hours for the Brine. So you know, buy a lot of BEER to drink while you wait.
ROASTED GARLIC and BEER MASHED POTATOES
This one comes from Billy Broas at BillyBrew, though the original recipe comes from The Homebrew Chef. But, since Billy put together a nice little video to show you EXACTLY how to boil potatoes and mash them, we'll cut him some slack.
Beer: Green Flash West Coast IPA, Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA, or any IPA with primarily earthy hops like Columbus/Tomohawk hops. Stay away from citrus and floral hops. Not up on your hop identification via taste? Here's help!
Tips: Don't listen to Billy on one count: use the FULL cup of butter as well as the heavy whipping cream. Also, I'm not sure how Billy ended up with a ridiculously large boiling pot and no potato peeler, but he's a dude(?).
BEER BRAISED BRUSSELS SPROUTS with BACON
Also, there's bacon.
Tips: Craft Beer was vague when listing the beer to use for this recipe called for "something light and crisp". Really Craftbeer.com? Did a customer at the bar I work at type up this recipe for you? (Bartender jokes!)
I say marry your mashed and brussels and use that same earthy IPA for both dishes.
BROWN ALE STUFFING
Coming to you from the amazing Brooklyn Brew Shop, this recipe is speaks directly to my definition of what true stuffing should be (plus beer.)
Beer: Chestnut Brown Ale. Unless, of course, you didn't buy the kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop and spend the last few months home brewing the specific beer that this recipe calls for. In case you didn't do that, use the same nutty brown ale that you used for your turkey brine.
Tips: I would also add to the mix
- 1 package of breakfast sausage, cooked and diced
- All of the boiled and diced turkey innards that should come in a nice little package when you get your turkey or that you kept and froze when you butchered your turkey.
HAYLEY'S BEER APPLE PIE
This is MY recipe and I stand by my pie.
For (9 1/2) 2 crust pie:
- 2 1/3 C Flour
- 1 C butter
- 3/4 TSP table salt
- 1/2 TSP baking powder
- 1 egg
- 3 TBSP cold water
For Pie Filling:
- 7-8 "Crisp" Apples (Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, get a mix of anything that snaps when you bite a chunk out of it)
- 3-4 C's of cold Beer
- 1/2 TSP Cinnamon
- 1/8 TSP Ground Clove
- 1/8 TSP Ground Nutmeg
- 1 C Brown sugar (for sweater pie) or White sugar (for pie that's more tart!)
- 3 TBSP flour
Wash your apples and get a bowl ready with 2 cups of your beer. You will be peeling/slicing your apples and dropping these apple slices into your bowl of beer to soak. The size of your apple slices should be consistent and no more than a 1/2 inch at the widest point. When your apples slices start filling the bowl, add more beer to cover your apples as needed. Once all your apples are submerged in your bowl of beer, place this bowl in the fridge while you prepare your pie crust.
If you have yourself a store bought crust, no worries. Enjoy the rest of the beer and let your apples soak for about 30 minutes. If not...
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl, and cube your butter which shouldn't be rock hard. (Take it out of the fridge a few minutes before you start. Your finger should leave a slight imprint when you press the butter.) Once cubed, cut the butter into the flour using whatever method you like best. I prefer two dinner knives, working the mixture until the particles have a coarse, mealy texture similar to that of fresh bread crumbs with some larger pea-size pieces.
Once this is ready, quickly whisk together the egg and cold water in a small bowl. Once mixed, drizzle 1 TBS of the water/egg mix around the edge of the bowl, letting it trickle into the crumbs. Flick the moistened crumbs toward the center with a table fork, rotating the bowl as you work. Repeat with the remaining mix adding 1 TBS at a time. As you add the mix, the crums should begin to form larger clusters. Once you've added whole mix, take a handful of crumbs and squeeze them gently; they should hold together. If they easily break apart, the mixture needs more water, so slowly add more cold water, a 1/2 TBS at a time, checking the consistency after each addition.
Gather a handful of the crumbly dough and press it against the side of the bowl to form a small mass, flouring your hand as needed to prevent excessive sticking. Increase the size of this mass by pressing it into more of the crumbly mixture until you've used up about half of the total mixture in the bowl. Make a second mass of dough with the remaining crumbs. If some of the crumbs on the bottom of the bowl need more moistening, add a few drops of water. Form the two masses of dough into balls.
Preheat your oven to 400°F
Roll out the first crust portion on floured surface and allow for about 1 inch of overhang. Place the first crust and in your pie pan. Roll out second crust and have it ready to top your pie.
Remove apples from the fridge and drain the soaked apples. Save the beer to drink and to brush on your crust. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg in a small bowl. Stir this mix into your apples. Stir in the flour last. Lovingly pour this apple mix into your pie crusted pie pan. Take your second crust and top your pie, folding up the crust around the edges. Cut a few slits in the top, maybe make a cool design like a turkey or a pint glass.
Put your pie in the oven and bake for 30 mins at 400°F. Then lower the temp to 375°F and bake for another 30-40 mins until the top and bottom crusts are golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
Once it's done, remove from the oven Once your pie is out of the oven, and LIGHTLY brush it with your apple infused Beer. Cool the pie at least 3 hours and up to overnight before serving.
Tips : I always put a cookie sheet either underneath my pie pan or on the shelf below. The juice from the pie tends to bubble over and can make your oven messy/start a fire after years of baking pies and making messes and not cleaning them up.
Obviously, get a delicious Vanilla Ice Cream to accompany this pie. Obviously.