Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cooking w/Beer: Meatloaf and Pumkin Bread

October rolled in this week. For me, the fall begins on October 1st. This year, the weather obliged as there was definitely a shift toward colder, wetter conditions. Using some fall seasonal beers, I made some dinner.

I had to make some dinner and we had ground beef in the freezer, so I figured I could make a meatloaf. Several online recipes suggested adding some wine or various spirits to keep the loaf moist and add some richness. I figured there had to be something out there involving beer. I was right.

I found this recipe. I made about 2/3 of the recipe since I had two pounds of meat as compared to three. The key with the beer was to fry up some onions, pour in the beer, and cook it until it was thick (or about 3/4 of a cup).

The loaf turned out great. I could have done more with the flavors, but the beer insured it was moist. Speaking of the beer, I used a Great Lakes Octoberfest. The recipe called for a amber-colored beer, but I went with the fall seasonal from my favorite Ohio brewery.

Here's the recipe...

  • canola oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces of bottle dark or amber beer
  • dried thyme leaves
  • dry mustard
  • salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in beer and increase heat to high. Bring to a vigorous boil; cook until the liquid is quite syrupy and the mixture reduces to about 3/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in thyme, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Add beef, breadcrumbs, parsley, beaten egg and egg white to the onion mixture. Mix thoroughly with clean hands and transfer to the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F when inserted into the center, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes; drain accumulated liquid from the pan and slice. Serve hot or cold or in a sandwich.

Pumpkin Bread
I stumbled over a pumpkin bread recipe a while ago that used a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. That beer would be ideal as it uses real pumpkin as its primary ingredient. However, Dogfish Head is not available in MO, so I turned to a local favorite. Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale is one of the two or three best pumpkin beers I've ever had. This was the logical substitute.

The original recipe can be found here (although I reprint it word-for-word below). The only difference, again, was the beer. I'd suggest only using pumpkin beers by Dogfish Head, Schlafly, or Southern Tier. In my humble opinion, those are the only pumpkin beers worthy of consumption. The rest are spiced ales with some pumpkin pie flavoring.

The bread was good and contained a hint of pumpkin without being too pumpkiny or bright orange. I will certainly make this again, but I might add a tablespoon or two of some pumpkin puree to give it a little more pumpkin authenticity. I think it would pair well with a chocolate stout or maybe a porter. Also, I might try it with a black bean chili with chunks of yams.

Here's the very simple recipe...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine:

12 oz bottle of Dogfish Punkin Ale

3 cups self-rising cake flour.

1 tablespoon brown sugar

A dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, but not too much, as you don't want to get in the way of the flavors Sam Calagione and co. have created.

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.

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