Besides water, beer is made with three essential ingredients – barley, hops and yeast. This probably has what made this beverage a very good ingredient for cooking. Because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, it quickly evaporates during cooking and the beer’s natural flavors become more concentrated, giving your recipe the beer’s brilliant taste.
I also use beer in my cooking, especially in my marinades. The acidity in the beer not only adds flavor but it helps tenderize the meat. It’s also great for steaming shrimps, clams and crabs. Using beer instead of water provides a tangy taste that complements the saltiness of the seafood, and I find it an ideal substitute for stock or wine in my soups and stews. My kids enjoy a slow cooked beef casserole in a combination of beef stock and brown ale. The hours of slow cooking increased bitterness in the hop content of the beer creating a very savory contrast of flavors.
There are many ways to use beer in making stock. If you want a thick soup or stew, don’t add plenty of beer at the beginning. Remember that starting with too much beer can make your soup watery, and if you try to boil off the liquid, it can also become too bitter. Add your beer gradually, or better yet, mix a small amount of the broth with corn flour and stir the mixture back into the stew pot. This will gently thicken up your soup nicely. If you’re not sure, follow your recipe’s cooking instructions. When using beer in the soup, make sure to reduce salt slightly.
Malty beer brings a delicious “malt” taste in your soup recipes. Cooking with this type of beer doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the other ingredients in the recipe. While it may be true that alcohol content in the beer is mostly cooked off during the cooking process, the benefit may still remain. A soup with beer is still full of vitamins and minerals which are good for overall health. It aids in the nerve production and the process of metabolism. It increases blood circulation and helps you concentrate. Take for instance beer and cheese soup. Combining beer with cheese results to a very savory taste; and although beer in your cheese soup results to a high in fat and calorie dish, including beer cheese soup in your diet can boost your vitamin A intake.
For your holiday- tasting beer soup, serve with a wonderful homemade bread. You can even create your own method of using beer in soups. Believe it or not, from your plain dips to rich desserts, the secret ingredient can be the beer of your choice. So if you want an even tastier soup dish or stock, do not be nervy about trying to substitute beer for other liquids in your recipes.