Everything Tastes Better with Beer

What exactly is a Gastro Pub, you might ask? Shorthand for Gastronomical Public House, it’s a hot culinary concept focused on serving high-quality food and drink in a pub-like setting. With creative takes on traditional pub dishes, Gastro Pubs attempt to elevate the eating experience by reinterpreting the classics and incorporating more refined ingredients.

Whether they’re serving Beef and Stilton pie (a tasty take on Shepherd’s Pie) or Boudin Blanc with Leeks and Mustard Sauce (an inspired Bangers and Mash), Gastro Pubs around the world are creating delicious new recipes that pair wonderfully with beer. And as most are serving a veritable cornucopia of beers, Gastro Pubs are THE place to sample quality beers from around the world.

So next time you’re craving a pint, visit a Gastro Pub. Or, if you’re looking to recreate the experience at home, buy some great beer at the store and try making my recipe for Pilsner Chili. Hearty and comforting, this chili layers flavors that sync beautifully with the beer. And as I said before, everything tastes better with beer. Cheers!

MAKE YOUR OWN RECIPE

Using the recipe below as background on ingredients and techniques, how might you make your own chili recipe? How about you:

Vary the meat?

  • Turkey, chicken or even bison would work.
  • Start off with a bit of bacon to add smokiness.
  • Or, how about omitting the meat altogether and adding a variety of beans such as black, garbanzo, pinto or cannellini?

Add vegetables?

  • Zucchini, carrots, squash, sweet potato, corn, mushrooms and green onions would all be delicious.

Diversify the flavors?

  • For more Mexican flavor, add cilantro.
  • For an Indian take, add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and mango chunks.
  • For an Asian version, play with ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and Chinese five-spice powder.

You get the idea… Now, please share your ideas for recipes!

PILSNER CHILI RECIPE

Ingredients:
• 1 tbsp – Ground cumin
• 1 tbsp – Ground paprika
• 1 tsp – Ground coriander
• 1 tsp – Ground oregano
• 1 tbsp – Chili powder
• 2 tbsp – Olive oil
• 1 lb. – Ground beef
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 – Onions, chopped
• 1 – Bell pepper, chopped
• 2 – Small jalapenos or fresno chiles (deseeded, deveined and minced)
• 2 – Garlic cloves, minced
• 3 tbsp – Tomato paste
• 1 tbsp – Sugar
• 12 fl. oz. – Pilsner beer
• 2 – Cans of kidney beans (15.5 oz. each), rinsed and drained
• 1 – Can of whole or diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.), with liquid (if using whole, break them up)
• 2.5 tbsp – Chile sauce ( I like Frank’s Red Hot)
• 1 tbsp – Unsweetened chocolate, grated (cocoa powder can also be substituted)

Method:
1. In a dry pot (the same one you’ll use to make your chili), toast the spices (the first 5 ingredients) over medium heat until fragrant, darker and beginning to smoke (about 4 minutes). Transfer to a container and set aside to cool.
2. Add 1 tbsp of the oil to the pot over medium-high heat
3. Add the ground beef and a pinch of salt and pepper – cook until browned and then move the cooked meat onto a plate and set aside
4. Add another 1 tbsp of the oil to the pot over medium-high heat
5. Add the onions, bell peppers, chiles and garlic with a dash of salt and pepper and the toasted spices – cook until softened, reduced in volume and beginning to brown
6. Maintaining medium-high heat, add tomato paste and sugar, mix it well into the mixture and cook it through until you see more browning and then immediately add the beer and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any caramelized bits
7. Once the beer has reduced by half, reintroduce the cooked meat to the pan along with the beans, tomatoes, chile sauce, chocolate and salt/pepper (to taste)
8. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer – cover the pot and simmer for a minimum of 60 minutes, stirring occasionally
9. Adjust seasoning to taste – add more salt/pepper, add more chile sauce, etc…

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