One great thing to know about beer:
Even if you don't drink beer (and I don't), there are good reasons to keep it in your pantry. Beer tenderizes marinades, adds a yeasty puff to batters like tempura, and leaves behind a hops/barley/malt flavor in stews after most of the alcohol cooks out, much lighter and less sweet than the residual flavor of wine. If you're lucky and have friends who bring their own six-packs to dinner, leaving the unconsumed bottles behind (out of generosity or forgetfulness), you can use whatever they leave -- regular beer or ale or lager, nonalcoholic beer or "near beer" -- in most recipes, except when you're baking.
Cooking or baking?
Both. Use regular beer for baking, but in most cooking recipes, you can substitute nonalcoholic beer. (Which, I guess, isn't really beer at all. But it works.)
Unopened, beer will keep at room temperature in the pantry forever. An opened bottle of beer has no shelf life -- use it or lose it.
Turkey mole chili
Inspired by a gift of some spicy, chocolatey mole my friend Candy brought home from Mexico, this chili is a little bit Mexican (chocolate and chile peppers) and a little bit Cuban (black beans and rice). Of all of the turkey chili I've made, I honestly think this one's the best. The recipe serves 4-6, but you'll want to double it and freeze some.
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder (mild or hot, your favorite; I like Penzeys Chili 3000)
1 heaping tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (pimenton dulce)
1/4 cup storebought or homemade mole
1 12-oz bottle O'Doul's non-alcoholic beer or any beer you have on hand
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned, chopped tomatoes
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Lime wedges, for serving
In a small Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the turkey, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the onion, and cook for 1 minute; then add the garlic, and cook for one minute more. Add the chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika, and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in the mole.
Pour in the beer, beans, tomato and chicken stock, and stir everything together. Reduce the heat to simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook for 30 minutes. Then uncover the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes, until the chili has thickened but there is still a bit of liquid in it.
Serve over noodles, steamed rice, or on its own, garnished with a wedge of lime.
Other recipes that use beer:
Almost too easy whole wheat beer bread, from Farmgirl Fare
Beer cheese cupcakes with bacon cheddar cream cheese frosting, from Cupcake Project
Shallot and beer marmalade, from David Lebovitz
Beeramisu, from 101 Cookbooks
Carbonnade: beef and beer stew, from Simply Recipes
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