'Tis the season for hearty soups and packing on our winter layers (yes, I mean pounds). Beer piques our palates as the weather grows colder, and what better way to enjoy it than as added depth of flavor in seasonal stews?
Here are a few rich a tasty options, from Eastern Europe to Mexico to the Midwest.
Bratwurst and Beer Stew
3 (12-ounce) bottles dark beer
2 pounds fresh bratwurst sausage links
4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into thin strips
4 cups sliced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup chicken stock
1 pound small red potatoes, halved
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch sticks
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour 2 bottles of the beer into a medium (oven-proof) Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Using a small knife or fork, pierce each sausage link several times. Add bratwurst links to the beer, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside to cool slightly. Reserve the sausage-cooking liquid. Slice the sausage links into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
Add the bacon to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add the sliced bratwurst to the bacon drippings and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring often, until lightly brown and wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Stir in the reserved sausage-cooking liquid, the remaining bottle of beer, chicken stock, potatoes, carrots, thyme, salt, pepper, and bay leaf to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, and cover.
Place the Dutch oven in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig. Stir the crispy bacon into the stew and serve hot with crusty bread.
Sausage 'n Stout Cheese Soup
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups water
2 (12 fluid ounce) bottles cream stout beer
2 pounds kielbasa sausage, sliced thin
4 green onions, diced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1 pound shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
Bring potatoes, water, and beer to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the sausage, green onions, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and liquid smoke. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are completely tender, about 15 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender, stir in the Cheddar cheese until completely melted, then add the milk. Heat through, stirring until cheese has melted but do not boil.
Mexican Sausage Stew
1 tb Canola oil
1 Bottle Mexican beer
1 lb Beef brisket; cut into
1 c Water
1/2 lb Hot sausage; cut into chunks
1 Sweet potato; peeled, sliced
1 c Sliced onion
1 Box (10-oz) frozen corn
2 Cloves garlic; chopped
2 tb All purpose flour
1 ts Ground cinnamon
3/4 c Shredded Monterey Jack
1/2 ts Ground allspice
2 tb Chopped cilantro
1 cn (13-oz) beef broth
Heat oil in large dutch oven. Working in batches, saute brisket and sausage until browned, approx. 10 minutes. Transfer to plate. Add onions and garlic to drippings in pot, cook until tender, about 8 minutes, being careful NOT to burn the garlic. Stir in cinnamon and allspice, cook 1 minute. Return meat and sausage to pot. Reserve 1/4 cup beef broth. Stir in remaining broth, beer and water. Cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Sitr in potatoes, cook until potatoes are tender, 15 minutes, stir in corn, heat through. Whisk flour and reserved 1/4 cup brothe in small bowl. Stir into pot. Cook stirring until thickened. To serve.... ladle stew into bowls. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese. Garnish with cilantro, accompany with tortilla chips.