Drinking a Belgian beer can be an experience unto itself, but did you know those complex flavors are not limited to an experience reached solely by glass? Cooking with Belgian beer is a flavorful—and healthy!—experience not to be overlooked. Experimenting with your favorite brews in the kitchen is immensely satisfying and adds incredible flavors and aromas to your dishes. Check out some of our favorite recipes below for a small taste at the expansive world of cooking with Belgian beer.
Bruegel Onion Soup – Makes 4 servings
(Recipe from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco)
– 4 large yellow onions
– 1/2 cup butter
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
– 2 bottles of Bruegel ale 11.2 oz
– 3 cups chicken stock
– 3 cups beef stock
– salt to taste
– 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– croutons and freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Peel the onions and cut about 1/2 inch off the stem and root ends. Cut each in half lengthwise. Laying cut side down, cut the onion halves crosswise into thin slices resembling crescent moons.
2. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat until sizzling. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 15 to 20 minutes. Pour in the Bruegel ale and scrape the pan’s bottom to loosen any browned bits.
3. Add the chicken and beef stocks, salt, pepper, and bring to boil. Reduce and simmer and cook uncovered about one hour. Occasionally skim and discard any foam that rises to the top.
4. Serve hot over toasted croutons and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.
Casserole with Wild Meats in a Pretrus Speciale – Makes 4 servings
(Recipe from Stefaan Couttenye of Restaurant ‘t Hommelhof – Watou)
– 1 wild rabbit
– 1 pheasant cockerel
– 9 oz wild boar filet
– 1 onion
– 1 carrot
– 1 sprig of celery
– 10 sheets of gelatine
– 1 lemon
– 1 bottle of Petrus Speciale
– salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves
How to prepare:
1. Put the meat of the rabbit, pheasant and wild boar on the fire in cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Drain the water and rinse the meat under the cold tap.
2. Put the meat on in water with the beer, salt and pepper, bay leaves, thyme and the peeled lemon.
3. Allow to boil gently for three quarters of an hour
4. Take out the meat, lemon and vegetables. Strain the stock and put it back on with the soaked sheets of gelatine.
5. Get the rabbit and pheasant meat off the bones and dice it together with the wild boar.
6. Arrange the meat and the vegetables in a mould and pour the gelatine over it. Let it set overnight in a cool cellar or in the fridge.
7. The dish can then be served with some bread and a salad or with a dressing made of fresh cheese laced with chives, salt and pepper.
8. If you have the cooking experience you can clarify the stock, using egg whites, to a ‘consommé’ before pouring it over the meat in the mould. This way the dish will have a stronger flavour.
Sorbet of Wittekerke – Makes 4 servings
(Recipe from Piet Huysentruyt, Famous Belgian Television Cook)
2 bottles of Wittekerke beer
2 oz. sugar syrup
4 oz. champagne
How to prepare:
1. Mix the ingredients in an ice cream maker.
2. Serve with fresh fruit!
Remember what they say in Belgium: Beer is food!