Things That Go Better with Beer

... like cookies and ice cream. Craft beers, with their distinctive character, make great cooking ingredients.

Here are some classic dishes, updated with local brews. Pair them with the beer that went into these dishes, or other brew in the same style. Salud.

Stew -tastingRed Chile Stew with Brew

You might call this carne con chile or chile con carne. Either way, it’s really good. Serves 8

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-pound beef chuck roast, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup ground dried mild to medium New Mexican red chile
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 12 ounces (1½ cups) nutty brown ale, such as Sierra Blanca Brewery’s Nut Brown Ale
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut in ½-inch cubes
  • 1½ to 2 cups drained cooked pinto beans (canned are acceptable)

Chopped onion and grated mild Cheddar cheese

Warm oil in a Dutch oven or small stockpot over high heat. Stir in beef cubes and sear on all sides. Add onions and garlic, and sauté until onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in chile, oregano, salt, stock, and beer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for about 2 hours, stirring every half hour or so. Stir in potatoes, replace cover, and cook about 30 minutes more, until potatoes and meat are tender. Stir in pinto beans and simmer about 10 minutes more, until beans are heated through and consistency is like a slightly soupy stew.

Serve immediately. Ladle into bowls and top with onion and cheese garnishes.

Fish -tacoFried Fish Tacos

Nearly every brewpub in the state serves fish-and-chips, kicked up a notch with a signature brew. Here’s another way to fry up fish in a more regional style. A hoppy ale, such as the India pale ale (IPA) made by numerous New Mexico breweries, is just right here. Feel free, though, to experiment with other beers.
Serves 4 to 6

  • 1½ to 1¾ pounds mild firm-fleshed white fish fillets, such as snapper, grouper, or dorado (aka mahi-mahi), cut into fat finger-size strips
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground dried hot New Mexican red chile

Slaw Topping

  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • ½ small red onion, halved through the ends, sliced into thin half rings
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Batter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried hot New Mexican red chile
  • 12 ounces (1½ cups) IPA, other ale, or other hoppy beer
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 12 to 16 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Jalapeño Tabasco Sauce or favorite green salsa or hot sauce
  • Lime wedges

Place fish in shallow dish. Combine lime juice, mustard, garlic, and red chile. Rub lime juice mixture over fish. Set aside at room temperature.

Make slaw. Place cabbage in a large bowl. Stir remaining ingredients together and toss with cabbage. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Make batter. Stir together flour, salt, oregano, and chile in a large bowl. Whisk in beer, mustard, and garlic.

Fill a large, heavy pan or deep skillet with about 4 inches of oil. Heat oil to 350° F. If cooking at over 5,000 feet altitude, heat the oil to only 345° F. Dip fish into batter, a few pieces at a time. Allow excess batter to drip off. Transfer fish to oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a baking rack arranged over paper towels. Repeat process until all fish is used.

Serve fish right away on a platter along with tortillas, slaw topping, hot sauce, and limes. Let guests make their own tacos, piling ingredients as they wish.

Ice -creamBeer-Ice Cream Float

A staple on many breweries’ menus. Nexus puts this together with its stout, and Duel Brewing with Grunewald, an imperial porter. Serves 1

  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1 bottle (or up to 12 ounces) Belgian-style imperial porter or stout
  • Maraschino cherry or 2, optional

Spoon ice cream into a tall glass. Pour as much beer over ice cream as fits into glass. Add a cherry or 2 as garnish, if you wish. Serve right away, with an iced-tea spoon.

CookiesChocolate Chip-Oatmeal Stout Cookies

In this recipe, the toasty, roasty notes of the oatmeal stout truly complement the oatmeal and chocolate in the cookies. The baker gets to enjoy the remaining beer from the bottle.

Makes about 3 dozen medium-size cookies

  • 2 cups “old-fashioned” oats (such as Quaker)
  • 1 cup oatmeal stout, such as Blue Corn Brewery’s Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout or Marble Brewing Company’s Oatmeal Stout, other stout, or other dark beer
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (reduce to ¾ teaspoon at altitudes above 6,000 feet)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli 60% Cacao or Double Chocolate Bittersweet Baking Chips
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Stir together oats and beer in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter with both sugars, using a sturdy spoon. Mix in egg, then vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt, mixing until just combined. Batter will be stiff. Stir in the stout-soaked oats to combine. Then mix in chocolate chips and walnuts, again mixing until just combined. Drop the dough by golf-ball-size rounds onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving 1½ to 2 inches between the cookies.

Bake about 12 minutes, until just lightly browned and set. At the halfway point, exchange the position of the sheets on the racks from top to bottom and from front to back. Avoid overbaking. Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them to baking racks or absorbent paper. Serve warm or at room temperature. The cookies will keep, in a cookie tin, for about 3 days. ✜

Cheryl Alters Jamison is New Mexico Magazine's contributing culinary editor. Read her blog at nmmagazine.com/tastingnm.