Beer doesn’t just taste great in a frosty mug or an ice-cold bottle. It can be just as flavorful in a soup cooked over a stovetop, or as an ingredient in the main course itself. “Beer can make a very simple recipe taste a lot more complex,” says Chad Lardie, owner of Embers Steak House. He says the cooking process gets rid of the alcohol taste and some of the beverage’s bitterness, while still retaining the sweetness of the malt used in the brewing process. “It just leaves behind beautiful flavoring. It adds a whole new layer of flavor to something you eat every day.” Lardie shared with us three of his favorite beer-centered recipes.
Jalapeño Beer Cheese Spread 1 bottle beer ½ tablespoon chopped garlic 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 fresh jalapeños, diced small 16 ounces shredded cheese (mix and match) 8 ounces room temperature cream cheese
In food processor combine garlic, pepper, shredded cheese and beer; process until smooth. Empty contents into mixing bowl; add cream cheese and jalapeños (this can also be done with a mixer). Refrigerate cheese spread for 24 hours. Serve with crackers, vegetables, or pita chips. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover cheese. You can combine almost anything. It is best to serve 24 hours after making it to let the flavors come together.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Beer-Boiled Bratwurst 1 package bratwurst Equal number of buns 2 cans beer 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 white onion, chopped 1 cup whole grain Dijon mustard 1 cup regular Dijon mustard 3 ounces dark beer ¼ cup sour cream ½ cup brown sugar
Add beer, onion and garlic to saucepan, and simmer with bratwurst for 20 minutes on medium-high heat. When cooked through, set aside. (For more flavor cook on the grill for a few minutes to get a little char.) To make beer mustard, combine mustards, dark beer, and sour cream in mixing bowl. Stir to combine. For beer onions, add remaining dark beer to saucepan with cooked onions. Add brown sugar and cook moisture down until onions are caramelized. To serve, add one bratwurst to each bun and top with beer mustard and beer onions.
Makes 6 servings
Beer Cheese Soup ½ cup melted butter 1 cup flour 4 cups hot chicken broth 1 ½ cups heavy cream 1 (16-ounce) jar Cheese Whiz 1 teaspoon Worchester sauce 6 ounces beer ¼ cup chives
In heavy saucepan, stir together butter and flour until smooth. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth, cream, and Cheese Whiz; whisk until well blended. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. This soup can be modified by adding sautéed mushrooms, bacon, jalapeños, onions, beef, or chicken at the end of the cooking process.
Makes 6 servings
Chocolate Cherry Dessert Topping 1 bottle milk stout 2 (12-ounce) bags dark chocolate chips 1 (12-ounce) bag milk chocolate chips 1 (14.5-ounce) can tart cherries, drained 1 (14.5-ounce) can sweet cherries, drained
Add all of chocolate chips and beer to microwaveable bowl (or melt in a crockpot). Microwave for 1 minute; stir. Cook in one-minute intervals until all chocolate is melted. Add cherries and mix well. This topping is wonderful on ice cream, cake or cheesecake. The beer brings out the flavor of the chocolate and adds another layer of complexity.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Meet the Cook: Chad Lardie of Embers Steak House
After graduating from Texas Tech’s Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management program, Chad Lardie worked for more than a decade managing Johnny Carino’s restaurants. When local favorite David’s Steakhouse closed its doors in 2010 – opening up a well-known location in the Wolflin area – Lardie jumped at the opportunity to create a restaurant of his own. He introduced Embers Steak House in early 2011, and delicious steaks, seafood, and burgers have been sizzling on its charcoal and hickory-wood grill ever since.
“We’ve created a really great base of regular customers and are always bringing new customers in,” he says. “Because it started as a known location, some people may have confused us with David’s at the beginning. They saw we were doing something a little bit different, but familiar enough that they really enjoyed it.”
Lardie says a focus on high-quality and unique cuts of meat is what sets Embers apart. He describes his restaurant as more closely aligned with a New York or Chicago-style steakhouse than a traditional Southern one, which might serve chicken-fried steak or ribs alongside ribeyes. “All of our steaks are hand-cut, and we offer a variety of steaks that people may not always see,” he says. These include bone-in buffalo filet and buffalo ribeye steaks, as well as bone-in beef filets and ribeyes.
Lardie believes Amarillo is ripe for a more creative approach to steak and seafood. “People nowadays have a much more adventurous palate,” he says, praising the popularity of The Food Network for enhancing local taste buds. “We’re continuously changing the menu and offering some fun stuff.” The three cooking-with-beer recipes in this issue reflect that adventurous spirit – especially the bratwurst boiled in beer, with caramelized beer onion and beer mustard. “When you boil bratwurst in beer, it absorbs a lot of the beer flavor and keeps it a lot more moist,” he says. “You can always boil it in water. But the beer imparts a lot more flavor.”
He says the beer cheese dip is easy and delicious. “That’s a fun recipe,” says Lardie. “Take whatever leftover cheeses you have. Add a little garlic, the beer of your choice, a few jalapeños, and put it in a food processor.” He calls this a “beer spread” and says it’s amazing on bread or with vegetables.
by Jason Boyett
Jason is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, and the author of more than a dozen books. His most recent is “12 World Religions: The Beliefs, Rituals, and Traditions of Humanity's Most Influential Faiths”, published by Zephyros Press. Learn more at jasonboyett.com.