I don’t know about you, but when the weather turns cold, I make gravy. I also trade in my lagers and pilsners for porters, stouts, and malty pale ales. It’s in this spirit that I share with you three warm, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food recipes featuring local craft beer as the spotlight ingredient.
Feather River Brewing Co.
A crushable semi-sweet, malt-forward ale the color of, well, honey. Perfect for the sweet heat of my Short Rib and Cauliflower Curry.
CHARLIE & THE PASTRY FACTORY IMPERIAL STOUT
Secret Trail Brewing Co.
A rich brew that smells of chocolate, tastes of coffee and is made with local Maisie Jane almonds, cocoa nibs, and Ghirardelli’s Dutch cocoa powder. An impeccable addition to my Citrus Pot Roast with Stout Gravy.
HANDS ACROSS THE POND BARLEYWINE
British Bulldog Brewery & Secret Trail Brewing Co.
Sweet and rich with a pleasant alcohol note. Wonderful accent to my Beer Cheese Soup with Apple and Bratwurst.
A definition: By “gravy” I guess I mean sauce, but really I mean something between broth and bisque. See, these dishes are all about the sauce: thick and spicy curry, complex and viscous pot roast gravy, and dry and gooey beer cheese soup.
The stock: The key to any good sauce is the stock, and I’m not one to mess with perfection. Start with a flavorful broth, finish with a flavorful sauce.
The roux: When I say “just add a roux,” I mean to take equal parts all-purpose flour and unsalted butter, melt the butter in a heavy pan, stir in the fl our with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring over medium heat at least until blonde, but sometimes closer to a light caramel, especially for darker gravies. Then gradually stir in your stock.
The chef: Always reserve a little local beer for the chef. Sip while cooking. Enjoy!
Stephen David Caldes is a writer, home cook, and assistant professor in the Journalism and Public Relations Department at CSU, Chico. He has many hobbies, but eating with friends is his favorite.