Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Frankenmuth Hefeweizen Shredded Chicken Tacos

I'm going to come right out and say it: I can't take any credit for this recipe.  None what-so-ever.  The thing for which I can take credit?  Finding this recipe on Frankenmuth Brewery's website.  Impressive, right?

I made these for dinner this past weekend and they were just too delicious not to share the recipe with you.  Slow cooking the chicken for 4-5 hours in beer not only made the chicken incredibly moist, but also resulted in a flavor that's the best of spicy and sweet. I hope you enjoy these tacos as much as we did!

For this recipe, you will need:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Frankenmuth Hefeweizen (12 ounces)
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 large chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1/2 lime juiced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
Flour tortillas

Taco toppings, such as:

Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Heat a sauce pan with olive oil and sauté chopped onion until you can see through the onion. Add the spices and garlic to the onions and allow them to heat for a few minutes. Pour in chicken broth, mix the concoction all together and pull it off the stove top.

Season chicken with salt and pepper and put into a crock pot. Cover the mixture from the sauce pan over top of the chicken. 

Pour in Frankenmuth Hefeweizen and add in jalapenos, cilantro and sugar. Allow chicken to cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

Once the chicken has cooked through, pull out of crock put and place into a bowl. Using a fork, shred the chicken, place it in the warmed flour tortillas and add the onions from the crock pot. Garnish with as many toppings as your heart desires. Kick back with the Frankenmuth Hefeweizen you haven’t used for cooking and enjoy this traditional Cinco De Mayo recipe with some friends and family.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bottled Michigan: Founders Furniture City Stock Ale

The second largest city in Michigan harbors a deep and lengthy history of making furniture; as home to five of the biggest furniture companies in the world, it boasts the nickname Furniture City. More recently, Grand Rapids has been dubbed Beer City USA, a name well earned for its strength in brewing, from nationally known brand such as Founders Brewing Company to recently ressurected names flush with history, like the Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

In a celebration of both its storied roots as well as its bright future, the Founders Brewing Company has elected to brew a special brown ale called Furniture City Stock Ale. Found typically in stores only around the Grand Rapids area as well as the Founders taproom, this beer runs cheaper than most bombers of Founders beer. Additionally, the profits from the sales of this beer go to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. I drink, and a museum gets money: everybody wins!

For those of you who want me to shut up and describe the beer, fine. It's a fairly standard brown ale, a solid product that is neither experimental nor boring. This color is what you'd expect; it's a deep, almost ruby tinted tan that only mildly inhibits light going through it. The aroma might not be what you'd expect, however; this is no sweet brown. The six roasted malts give the beer a dry smell, like rich sawdust.

Mouthfeel for the Furniture City Stock Ale is surprisingly smooth without being watery. I often complain about brown ales being thinner than expected, but the Stock Ale holds up well without being thick like a sweet stout. It helps that the beer follows through on its aroma by being surprisingly dry. The combination of malts gives the beer a robust taste that is neither too aggressive nor boring. Would you roll your eyes if I compared it to the conservative yet well made furniture that comes out of this city? It's an apt analogy.

Founders really did capture the essence of Furniture city in a bottle. No, it doesn't taste like caustic chemicals or the outside of Steelcase. But the beer has a comfortable, well worn feel to it. Founders Furniture City Stock Ale pleases without astonishing, and soothes without boring the imbiber. If you can find it, it's well worth the reasonable entry cost.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Third Coast Sailor's Beef and Potato Casserole

An inexpensive cut of beef becomes as tender as prime rib after a lengthy beer-infused sauna in this Swedish-inspired layered dish of meat, potatoes, and onions. A bottle of Third Coast beer lends just enough flavor and aroma to heighten this casserole into fare worthy of Valhalla.  So simple, yet the taste it delivers is so satisfying.  Top it off with plenty of chopped bright green parsley (Scandinavian cooking usually involves a lot of parsley) and tangy cornichon pickles to cut through the richness of the beef and potatoes.

For those of you that are wondering why it's called "Sailor's Beef": it's a simple, traditional Scandinavian dish that could be placed in a low oven in the morning, and by the time the sailors returned from a day at sea, the meat would be tender enough to cut with a fork.  It's sure to satisfy any sea-faring sailor or landlubber alike.
For this dish, you will need:

1 1/2 pounds bottom round steaks, 1/4-inch thick
Salt and coarse black pepper
Flour, for dredging
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 large or 3-4 medium onions, sliced
1 large bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
4 large starchy potatoes (2 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
1 bottle warm Bell's Third Coast beer
Chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Chopped cornichons, for garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 275ºF. Season the beef with salt and pepper on both sides and dredge with flour.  Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Brown half of the meat on each side and remove to a plate. Add more oil and butter and repeat.

Once all the meat is browned, add the remaining butter, the onions, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.

 Cook until light golden, 10-12 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Arrange one-third of the potatoes in a casserole dish, season with salt and pepper and cover with half of the onions and half of the meat. Repeat the layers and top with the remaining potatoes. Pour the beer evenly over the casserole and cover.

Bake for 2 1/2-3 hours, until very tender.  Garnish with the parsley and chopped pickles and serve.

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