How to Bring Oktoberfest Into Your Kitchen


photo: [puamelia]

Germany’s Oktoberfest wrapped up earlier this month, but if U.S. cities can still host their own short beer-focused festivals this month (and they are), there’s no reason you can’t, too.

While you’re raising your glass, consider tipping a bit of that brew into a recipe or two. Just a spoonful or two is enough to add zing to a tried-and-true recipe.

Think beer-battered foods, beer-infused sauces and beer breads — Frugal Foodie even puts it in pizza dough. Or use it to experiment with something new, different and cheap.

Yes, cheap – even for a pricier six-pack, using part of a bottle will run you less than $2. Try these seven, priced out for everything else but your favorite brew.

(All cost estimates are based on non-sale New York City supermarket prices. If it’s a cheap recipe in NYC, we figure cooks in most other places in the country will spend even less. Prices are also adjusted for quantity: if a recipe calls for half an onion, you’ll probably find something to do with the other half.)

Jalapeno Beer Brittle

Cost: $1.59

We mentioned this recipe from “The Spirited Baker” as a great Father’s Day treat, but this time of year, think of the spicy-sweet treat as compensation for not getting your own haul trick-or-treating.

Fire Island Beer Donuts

Cost: $1.65

“Baked donuts with beer? They’re practically a health food,” jokes Nazli Kfoury, a spokesperson for Fire Island Beer Company.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a donut pan or mini bundt pans with butter or shortening. Melt four tablespoons butter and let cool. Sift a cup flour, a half-cup white sugar, a teaspoon each of baking powder and cinnamon, a quarter-teaspoon each of nutmeg and salt, and three tablespoons dried buttermilk powder together into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together two large eggs, the melted butter and three ounces beer (ideally, Fire Island Beer Lighthouse Ale) until well blended. Pour the liquid blend into the dry ingredients all at once, and mix just until blended. Fill each donut form half way. Bake in the preheated oven in the middle rack for eight to nine minutes for mini donuts, nine to 12 for regular-size donuts. Remove cool donuts from pan and roll in powdered sugar.

Purple Beer Soup

Cost: $5.15

Frugal Foodie makes this soup throughout the winter. It gets its color from purple cauliflower, although you can use any variety you like: Steam one small head of cauliflower and let cool. Puree in a blender (should result in about 1.5 cups). Heat four tablespoons butter in a sauté pan, and when melted, mix in four tablespoons flour. Heat the roux until it starts to bubble, then remove and set aside. Heat three cups milk until just before boiling, stirring occasionally. Add one tablespoon minced garlic and whisk in half the roux. Reduce heat and add two cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar, one cup dark beer and the cauliflower. Add in remaining roux as needed.

Peanut Butter-Guinness Chicken

Cost: $5.49

Chad Carns, the author of “The Gourmet Bachelor”, came up with this take on a West African recipe for a TV segment on bachelor cooking. “I seared the chicken veggies and dropped a pint of Guinness into the peanut butter,” he says. “The dish looked great and tasted even better.” Here’s how to make it:

Cube one eggplant and coat it with two tablespoons olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Cube one pound chicken breast and sear in two tablespoons of olive oil until golden brown. Remove. Sauté two cloves of crushed garlic and one chopped onion for three minutes. Add one tablespoon each of cumin, coriander and red pepper, one can beer (preferably Guinness), two tablespoons brown sugar and one cup peanut butter. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, eggplant and two ounces chopped cilantro.

Carbonnade Flamande (Belgian Stew)

Cost: $8.89

One of Frugal Foodie’s favorite NYC restaurants is Petite Abeille, which serves to-die-for mussels and this fantastic stew. So she’s thrilled they offered up the recipe:

Generously season 1 ¼ pounds stewing beef cubes with salt and pepper, then coat them in three tablespoons flour. Heat a large, heavy frying pan that has a tight-fitting lid. Melt two tablespoons each of butter and vegetable oil over medium to high heat. Add the cubed beef in batches and brown over fairly high heat for about four minutes to seal. As each batch browns, remove the cubes from the pan and place them on a plate. Add a large chopped onion to the fat remaining in the pan and cook gently for six to eight minutes until translucent, then add two peeled and crushed garlic cloves and fry for three minutes more. Return the meat to the frying pan and stir well to combine with the onions.

Pour in 11.5 ounces dark beer (preferably Chimay) and bring the mixture to just below boiling point. Add a bouquet garni and two tablespoons each of red wine vinegar and brown sugar. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 90 minutes or until meat has become tender. Spread two slices of rustic bread thickly with two tablespoons Dijon mustard and place it on top of the stew, mustard-side down. Replace the lid and simmer the stew for 20-30 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the meat is very tender. The bread will absorb some of the pan juices and dissolve to thicken the stew. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the bouquet garni and stir in a handful of fresh chopped parsley.

German Pot Roast

Cost: $14.38

The secret to this one-pot recipe from Certified Angus Beef: using beer to deglaze the pot, which turns caramelized meat and vegetable bits into a tasty sauce.

Oktoberfest Beer-Braised Sausage Palooza

Cost: $15.66

For our estimates, we’ve quartered this hefty recipe from purveyor Saag’s Specialty Meats (which originally includes four kielbasa, four bockwurst and four pork chops) into a one-pot meal a family might enjoy for dinner.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.

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