The session: Beer with Food

session-logo-r-sm.jpg This month’s Session is hosted by Beer Haiku Daily, and the topic is:

“…pairing beer with food or using beer as an ingredient in food. I hope to see recipes, pictures, tasting notes, stories, menus, reviews or anything else that fits the bill of fare.”

Conveniently, I was craving a big meat pie, and beer is a great addition to most meat pie recipes, not to mention a great accompaniment to eating pie.

So, I cooked a lamb and pale ale pie, and drank a Brakspear Triple with it.

pie.jpg

I didn’t just pull this combination out of mid air — I took some advice from the experts out there.

If I was making beef and ale pie, I’d use something malty and fruity in the pie — Hook Norton Old Hooky is my favourite, but Fuller’s ESB has done the job in the past, despite being a bit too hoppy. But what goes with lamb? I took a punt that the same kind of thing would work and used a Hepworth Prospect in the pie — although it turned out to be lighter and hoppier than I was expecting.

Fortunately, it didn’t do any damage.

And what to drink with it? Every beer/food menu I could fine online paired lamb with either Kriek, or pale ale. But, as a loyal member of CAMRA (alright — an occasionally traitorous, critical member…) I followed their advice, and went for a malty, spicy ale. The best candidate in the beer cellar (as we call the garage) was a Brakspear Triple.

Brakspear Triple isn’t a Belgian-style triple, although it could pass for something Belgian. It’s ludicrously fruity and smells mostly of fruit and alcohol. It worked very well with the pie, although it might have worked even better if the lamb I’d used had been a bit fuller flavoured, and if I’d caramelised it more in the cooking.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 350 grams of decent lamb (i.e. that won’t take hours to tenderise with slow cooking)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (any kind)
  • a knob (hur hur) of butter
  • half a carrot
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • salt and pepper
  • ready-made flake pastry
  • an egg, to glaze the pie
  • 1 bottle ale

1. Make the filling. Finely dice the carrot, potato and onion. Fry all of that off in a saucepan with the oil and butter.

2. When the veg has softened, chop the lamb into small cubes and throw it in. Let it brown all over, then add the flour and chopped rosemary.

3. Pour in 250 millilitres of beer.

4. Let it thicken and reduce. When it’s about the consistency of, say, double cream, take it off the heat.

5. Grease a pie dish. Put a circle of grease proof paper in the bottom.

6. Flour the work surface. Cut off two thirds of the pastry. Roll it out into a big circle, and then put it in the bottom of the pie dish, pressing it around the edges. It should overhand the rim of the dish by an inch or so.

7. Put an upturned egg cup in the middle.

8. Roll out the pie top with the remaining pastry.

9. Pour in the filling around the egg cup. Put the lid over and press down the edges around the edge of the dish. Trim off excess pastry.

10. Make some small slits in the lid to let out steam, and then brush with beaten egg.

11. Whack it in the oven on about 200 degrees c. for 30-35 minutes, or until it’s brown — not black, as in my picture…

12. Take it out. Let it stand for a few minutes, and then carefully turn it out upside down onto a plate. Remove the greaseproof paper which will be stuck to the base. Carefully turn it back onto another plate or cutting board.

13. Eat it, with a Brakspear Triple.

14. Sit on the sofa belching, hiccuping and patting your stomach. Occasionally say: “Aaaaaah, just the job.”

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